Socceroos midfielder Jackson Irvine says he is “unbelievably excited” to start playing for German 2. Bundesliga giant FC St. Pauli having been impressed by their attacking style and cultural values.
The 28-year-old joined the 2. Bundesliga outfit last week following the expiration of his short-term deal with Scottish side Hibernian.
Irvine appeared 21 times for Hibs since joining in January after an 11-month long break from football following his departure from Hull City in the English Championship.
In career-best form for the Socceroos, Irvine now turns his attention to the Hamburg based club who are famous for their fan culture and passionate following.
Speaking to German media, the Melbourne-born midfielder said he was introduced to the club during his youth career at Celtic.
"My first experience with the club came when we played here with the Celtic Academy in a pre-season friendly back in 2010,” Irvine told FC St. Pauli.
“It was an amazing experience. I could tell straight away that the connection between the two clubs was very strong. The atmosphere was incredible.
“Unfortunately, I didn't get off the bench for the game at the Millerntor in 2014. Since those two experiences it's always been a club you keep a keen eye on.”
Fans of Celtic and FC St. Pauli have been friends for over 25 years so Irvine will recognise how special it will be to represent the club.
Founded in 1910, FC St. Pauli has played throughout Germany's top three divisions with their most recent relegation from the Bundesliga coming in 2012.
READ MORE: Jackson Irvine joins FC St. Pauli
St. Pauli are often seen as the maverick cop of the football world, too cool for school, a team that doesn't play by the rules. And that is exactly what attracted Irvine to the club.
"There's so many different reasons why I felt this was a great fit for me, having experienced the atmosphere before," Irvine said.
"To have the opportunity of playing in front of a packed house again, as often as possible, is unbelievably exciting. And having not played in front of fans for a long time now, we can't wait to have everybody back as soon as possible.
Everybody knows the club. As soon as people back home found out about my move, a lot of them weren't so surprised knowing my personality and the way I like to play football.
“We have a lot of Australians in Germany and in the second league as well, so it's a closely followed league in Australia now."
Irvine will come up against a familiar face or two in Germany this season, following the recent news that Socceroos teammate Brandon Borrello has signed with newly-promoted outfit Dynamo Dresden.
A third Aussie in John Iredale, a member of the Australia U23 Selection who gathered in Marbella last month, will also play in the division after joining SC Paderborn 07 earlier this transfer window.
However, with the season kicking off on July 25, Irvine does not have long to get himself up to speed. Having made 21 appearances for Hibernian last season, with three assists and one goal, he hopes that his recent injury woes are behind him for a fresh start in Germany.
“I can't wait to be involved in it. I hope to be back to full fitness as soon as possible, but we'll have to take each day as it comes.”
Despite being predominantly viewed as a defensive midfielder in the early stages of his professional career, Irvine has demonstrated both his ability and versatility in recent times.
In the Socceroos last FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying phase, he was a tower of strength for the Green and Gold in the middle of the park.
The 28-year-old recorded the most scoring chances by any Socceroos player during the campaign, and that is exactly what he hopes he can bring to FC St. Pauli.
“I'm always creating and trying to get into goal scoring positions,” Irvine said.
“I'm pretty versatile in midfield and managers are comfortable playing me in different positions. I feel like I can bring different qualities wherever the team feels I'll be the best fit.
“I played as a number 6 for the national team in the World Cup qualifiers recently and I've played as a number 10 a lot over the last two or three seasons, so I'm very capable in any of those areas, though I'm always trying to improve every aspect of my game.”