Robbie Kruse is in doubt for the Socceroos’ friendly with Belgium on Friday (AEST) after an injury scare at training in Liege overnight.
Only just back in the Socceroos fold after a long lay-off due to a knee reconstruction, Kruse sent shudders through the camp when he went down clutching his knee during the session.
The 25-year-old appeared to slip and fall awkwardly as he was about to receive a pass from Tommy Oar.
After staying down for several minutes, Kruse eventually got to his feet and left the session immediately, although Socceroo medical staff is confident the injury has nothing to do with his recent ACL problem.
It’s still unclear if the problem will rule Kruse out for Belgium and then Saudi Arabia in London four days later.
Prior to the recent scare, Kruse spoke with Football Australia about his excitement to be back in the national fold and just how tough the last year has been since sustain the injury in training with club side Bayer Leverkusen.
“The initials stages I was just trying to get over the pain of the knee. Trying to get walking and sleeping was difficult,” Kruse said.
“As it got closer to the World Cup it really sunk I particularly you see the boys on social media or the internet and it was quite difficult to take.
“They did a fantastic job at the World Cup and it kind of brought the passion back to the public. They can see the football we were trying to play and the young players and everyone stood up
“It was a little bit bittersweet not to be involved but I’m proud of the team, now hopefully I can help the team and play my part leading into the Asian Cup.”
Kruse has yet to return to competitive action with Leverkusen as he fights to win his place back in the side.
He contemplated a loan move to try and get some regular match time before deciding to stay at the German giants and fight for his spot.
While it’s been a long – and at times painful - road back for the former Melbourne Victory star, Kruse is adamant he’s left no stone unturned to get back to the form that lit up the Socceroos squad before his injury.
“When you do the cruciate or the meniscus as I did, it usually takes around eight months until your back training,” he said.
“I did it quite quick, I was back training in about five or six months. I think I benefitted from doing my rehab at Leverkusen.
“I knew I would do it 100 percent there without any distraction. I opted against coming home, I felt it was the right environment for me to be doing it in and so far it’s gone well.
“Hopefully I can get a fair bit of game time the next two games the get back to my club and really push for selection there.”
That’s the short-term goal for Kruse but longer-term he wants to help lift the Asian Cup on Australian soil in January.
“We put in some good performances in at the World Cup, we didn’t get any points or anything but the main factor was to go there and try and put some pride back in the national team and I think they did that,” he said.
“Heading towards these friendly games and the Asian cup it’s about getting results now as well as playing good football. That starts with Belgium and then with Saudi Arabia.
"Asian Cup is all about winning the tournament and that’s the plan.”
The Socceroos play Belgium on Thursday 4 September at Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Leige 8.45pm (4.45am AEST) and Saudi Arabia on Monday 8 September at Craven Cottage, London 8.00pm (5am AEST) with both matches to be broadcast LIVE and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.