Irvine praises competition for places in Caltex Socceroos
Hull City midfielder Jackson Irvine knows it’s not easy to get a start in the national team’s midfield. But he sees this as a positive ahead of the Caltex Socceroos' winner-takes-all World Cup playoff qualifier with CONCACAF nation Honduras.
Australia’s depth in midfield is one of the team’s great strengths, with a number of talents vying for the three central positions.
Aaron Mooy, Mass Luongo, Mark Milligan, Mile Jedinak, James Jeggo and Irvine are all in the mix.
And with a short turnaround between games against Honduras – Nov 11 (AEDT) in Honduras and Nov 15 in Sydney - depth will be absolutely vital.
"I feel there is competition across the board in Australia.
“There is probably around 40 plus players not just looking to break into the 23 but into the team now, as we witnessed with Matt Jurman against Syria.
“The midfield area is of course filled with quality," Irvine told www.socceroos.com.au
Milligan will be suspended for the first leg in Honduras, as will forward Mat Leckie. But depth ensures Australia won’t be left feeling undermanned says Irvine.
“We are all ready and prepared to play if called upon and a lot of players will be needed with two to three games combined with the travel.
“We have a good blend of experience and younger players at the moment which definitely works for us.”
With a two-legged qualifier, this playoff will likely be cagey in the first leg, as most of these types of games are.
But Australia will be prepared for anything Jorge Luis Pinto's men will throw at the Green and Gold.
"The level of international football is incredibly high at the moment. Every country has quality players that are capable of causing problems for any opposition.
“We will do our homework, same as we always do, and prepare for their threats.
“But mainly we will focus on how we can use our principles and our qualities against them, as we have shown we are capable of doing against top sides," added Irvine.