Caltex Socceroo Jackson Irvine says he's full of confidence after an incredible start to his season at Championship club Burton Albion, as the competition for places in Australia's midfield heats up even more.
The midfielder has been a consistent performer for the newly-promoted Brewers, scoring in three successive matches, including the winner against Derby County over the weekend.
“I couldn’t imagine it has gone as well as it has so far,” Irvine told FFA TV.
“Coming to the club I recognised there was a lot of publicity surrounding the size of the club and how it’s a bit of a fairytale how they got where they are and they were odds on they were favourites to get relegated, but one look around the dressing room I could see the ability of the players we have and the staff as well, the experience they have at this level.
“They’ve made integrating into a new league as easy as possible and I’m fortunate to cap that off with a few goals.”
Ahead of Thursday night's World Cup qualifier with Iraq, breaking into the Caltex Socceroos midfield won’t be easy for the 23-year-old, with the likes of skipper Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo, Tom Rogic and Mark Milligan all vying for spots in Ange Postecoglou’s starting XI.
It's incredible depth for the national team to have in that part of the pitch, and something Irvine admits is pushing everyone to produce their best.
“Aaron’s [Mooy] top of the league with Huddersfield, Tommy’s [Rogic] scoring goals left, right and centre for Celtic as well and Mass [Luongo] is doing really well,” Irvine said.
“Mile’s [Jedinak] now with Aston Villa as well in the Championship. Basically I’m playing against someone I’m fighting for a spot with every other week. It’s only good signs to see so many midfielders are doing well.
“And there’s a number of players that haven’t made the squad that are doing extremely well in their respective leagues. Musti Amini and the young boy [Aiden O’Neill] at Burnley who’s played a couple of Premier League games in recent weeks.
“Its tough competition but to try and get a place in the squad you have to grab it with both hands when you get the opportunity because if you don’t there’s someone around the corner waiting to take it from you.”