Young midfielder Jackson Irvine says he’s feeling more and more comfortable in the Caltex Socceroos environment ahead of a long-awaited return to ANZ Stadium to play Greece on Saturday night.
The 23-year-old came off the bench late in the second half of the 2-1 loss to England and is hopeful of more game time in the two-game Dodoni Series.
Ange Postecoglou is blessed with an abundance of options in the midfield area, with Irvine competing with the likes of skipper Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Mass Luongo, Mark Milligan and Tom Rogic for a spot.
The Ross County star says he was initially overawed when called into the senior national squad but now feels he belongs in the Green and Gold.
“Originally it was a bit daunting, especially the first time I ever came in guys like [Mark Bresciano] were still in the squad and midfield has always been a very strong area for this team,” Irvine told FFA TV.
“But I think this is the first camp where I’ve really let go of that intimidation and just tried to embrace it and learn from these players.
“That’s probably the best thing about coming to these camps and being a part of it is the fact that, not just being a part of the whole set up of the Socceroos, but to be able to play and train with these players and learn from them and hopefully take that back to my domestic league as well.”
Irvine is coming off a superb season for the Stags in the Scottish Premiership, helping the club win the League Cup as well as being voted the league’s Player of the Month for March.
He now hopes to translate that form onto the international scene on Saturday night at a venue he’s only ever been to once before as a 13-year-old at the famous win over Uruguay in 2005.
“I was lucky enough my mum took me out of school for the day and I came up to Sydney with my friend,” Irvine recalled.
“We were at the game and it’s hard to put into words, it was such a phenomenal experience to be a part there.
“I was lucky enough to go to the  World Cup in Germany afterwards as well. I was always a fan of the Socceroos growing up so it was great to be a part of that historic moment.”
Reflecting on the performance against England, Irvine said: “The boys were so impressive.
“Unfortunately [we lost] the goal early through a deflection, a bit of bad luck but I thought we dominated possession throughout the game.
“I thought we gave a really good account of ourselves and probably unfortunate not to come away with anything from the game.”
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