'It still hasn't sunk in yet' Kye Rowles shocked by World Cup qualification
In only his third ever cap for Australia, Kye Rowles played a key role in securing FIFA World Cup qualification putting in a man-of-the-match performance against Peru.
Cool, calm and composed, despite being vastly experienced in the realm of international football, Kye Rowles put in a man of the match performance against Peru as the Socceroos punched their ticket to the FIFA World Cup following a penalty shootout victory in Doha, Qatar.
Being rewarded with an Australian debut against Jordan following on from another impressive season for the Central Coast Mariners in the A-League Men competition, nobody would have expected the early stages of Kye Rowles's Socceroos career to play out like it did in his first three caps under Graham Arnold.
Upon returning to Australia, Rowles described the last month as being a blur of joy after only making his Socceroos debut at the start of June against Jordan and being thrusted into a starting position against la Blanquirroja.
"It still hasn't sunk in yet to be honest, the last two weeks from my debut to a couple of nights ago has been hectic," Rowles said to the media.
"It's just been amazing and they've helped so much for us younger boys with lesser experience to become more comfortable and confident.
In a game of such importance, the 23-year-old was filled with nerves beforehand. However, as the game grew the former Central Coast Mariners star imposed his world-class defensive effort upon the Peruvian attackers to keep them quiet across 120 minutes.
"Beforehand I was very nervous, but with the boys I have around me like Matty, Bailey, and Aziz always talking to you and giving me confidence so that makes you feel like you are at home once you're out there.
"I was ninth on the list (of penalty takers) so I was starting to shake a little bit. It was alright in the end with Redders clutching up.
Making a FIFA World Cup would be overwhelming for any player and despite the pressure the Socceroos faced beforehand, Rowles stated that the Aussies knew their destiny before the game unfolded and that they were extremely grateful for all the support received from back home in Australia.
"It's pretty overwhelming to be honest and it's something I have never experienced before but I am just taking it in my stride and it just shows how much support we have behind us," the 23-year-old explained.
"I think we ourselves felt the pressure, but at the same time we knew that we had a job to do and we knew that within the squad we could get it done and that's what happened in the end.
Heading into what could be potentially his first-ever FIFA World Cup, Rowles has recently had a change of scenery. Swapping sunny Gosford for Edinburgh, Scotland, joining Heart of Midlothian.
There he will link up with fellow Australians, Nathaniel Atkinson and Cameron Devlin and the new Jambo believes the competitive nature of Scotland will keep him in Graham Arnold's thoughts for the FIFA World Cup.
"I am going over there to try a new challenge and I will head over in a couple of weeks, I'm excited for a new chapter and it's going to be great.
"It's a good league and great exposure as well, It's a massive club that I am joining so I am just honoured and I am going to take the opportunity with both hands.
"So hopefully I am still in the mix with the Socceroos but I am going to keep my head down and play the best football I can."