Jackson Irvine is in possession of a unique attacking weapon that has become something of a 'trademark' for club and country.
Irvine’s ability to score towering headers from set pieces or from late runs into the box has made him a real threat for the Championship outfit Hull City.
Having already scored one of those headers for the Tigers against Reading this season, Irvine wants to continue bringing his trademark onto the national stage for the Caltex Socceroos, starting in September’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier against Kuwait.
“It was nice to get off the mark early doors with a goal that’s become kind of my trademark with a late run into the box and a headed goal,” Irvine told www.socceroos.com.au of his effort against Reading at the start of August.
“You work on things with the staff and how to free yourself up and it’s more about timing of your runs and picking the right areas.
“Two of my three goals for the national team have already been headed goals from set pieces and it’s something I’ve done quite a bit of my career but there’s obviously always areas to improve.
“There’s been so many good midfielders over the years who’ve perfected that movement that is so hard to mark.
So, all the time, I’m trying to learn, improve and get better, and that run is something that brings midfielders goals because it’s incredibly difficult to track.”
Irvine’s inclusion in Graham Arnold’s squad for the Caltex Socceroos' FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification opener against Kuwait follows the midfielder’s excellent form for Hull.
The midfielder – who vice-captains the Yorkshire-based club - puts that down to being played in a roaming position behind the striker that enables his best qualities to shine.
“It’s been enjoyable,” Irvine said.
“The system we’re playing highlights more of the attributes I showed while I was at Burton a couple of seasons ago, where I’ve got more of a licence to make runs from deep into the box as more of a number eight rather than an out-and-out number 10.
“And playing in a three-man midfield, I feel it highlights a number of my best qualities.”
The number eight position with licence to roam that Irvine is currently enjoying is not one he has always played for the Caltex Socceroos, but the 26-year-old from Melbourne is confident his positional versatility will allow him to play at his best no matter where he is deployed.
“During the Asian Cup playing more as a number six, that’s where I’ve played most of my football under Arnie [Head Coach Graham Arnold,” Irvine said.
HOW TO WATCH: Kuwait v Caltex Socceroos
“I’ve played a variation of roles in that midfield but I’ve always been versatile in my play, I’ve had to fill in at full-back and I’ve played left wing a few times.
“I’ve always been a versatile player and I’ve got different attributes that can bring different qualities and roles within a team but it’s always nice to bring goals to your game.
“I’ll always be trying to contribute more goals for the national team as well.”
With his insatiable appetite for goals, Irvine is heading into Caltex Socceroos camp ready to put himself at the forefront of Graham Arnold’s thoughts.
But he knows that will only come with the continuation of his stellar domestic form, and many more of those trademark headers.
“It’s going to be an exciting few years and everybody’s really keen to be involved,” Irvine said.
“You have to keep your domestic form up to make sure you give yourself a chance for selection and then even when you’re in camp you need to make sure you train well and show what you can do to try and get yourself in the team.
“It’s great to have kind of a fresh start coming off the back of the last campaign and the Asian Cup as well.
“It feels like everybody’s refreshed and ready to start what’s going to be an incredibly tough but exciting campaign.
“We’ve got an abundance of talented players and guys doing really well all over the world: Asia, Europe and at home.
“It’s an exciting time and everyone can’t wait to get this campaign underway."
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