Heading North for international glory

The Socceroos embark on a new journey this Wednesday when they depart Australia to play in their first EAFF East Asian Cup.

The Socceroos embark on a new journey this Wednesday when they depart Australia to play in their first EAFF East Asian Cup.

The Australians will take on Asian heavyweights Japan, China and hosts Korea Republic and will be looking to build towards the 2014 World Cup.

While it is set to be a new experience for many of the squad, Jade North will be looking to impart some of his insider knowledge having played club football in both Japan and Korea during his 16 year long professional career.

North played for K-League side Incheon United in 2009 and Consadole Sapporo in the J-League in 2010 and knows they're in for a fight against some of the top nations in Asia.

“From personal experience there is not much difference between these nations first and second teams as they have so many quality players to choose from,” said the 31-year-old Socceroos veteran.

“Whoever they put out there on the pitch you know you are going to get a tough game which will be a great test for us and one that will help us see where we're at.”

North and his Socceroos teammates have used the past fortnight to build their fitness base as they prepare to play three matches across eight days when they touch down in Seoul.

“Coming into camp the boys were at different fitness levels but we have used the past couple of weeks to get into good shape in the lead up to the matches ahead.

“It has obviously been a little bit harder of a preparation with the A-League boys being out of season and only having a couple of games against state league teams but I am positive that we are starting to gel and ready to surprise the other nations.”

With the side made up of A-League talent exclusively, North has said that the Young Socceroos that have joined the squad after their FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign have fit in seamlessly.

“Prior to them playing in the World Cup we got to play against them a fair bit and learn a bit about them.

“I-m sure that experience helped them as they have fit into the squad really well since joining us.

“Everyone knows that when you are at this level that you have to work hard and express yourself whether you are a junior or senior member of the squad.”

The Socceroos depart from Sydney on Wednesday and will play their first match against Korea Republic this Saturday evening.

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