Talented new Caltex Socceroo defender Milos Degenek says his call up to the national team has been the greatest few weeks of his life.
“I was just doing an ice bath with one of the boys and I told him, ‘this is literally the best 15 or 20 days of my life’,” a proud Degenek toldwww.socceroos.com.au after the Greece clash last week.
The 22-year-old, from 1860 Munich, was one of the finds of the recent friendlies against England and Greece in which the classy central defender played a part in all three matches.
Ange Postecoglou now has more depth in central defence following the former Joey's eye-catching displays as he joins Sainsbury, Spiranovic, Wright and Wilkinson as options in that part of the pitch.
“It’s difficult to sum it up in a few words but it’s just really unbelievable," Degenek added, still coming to terms with his national team call up.
“I think it will actually click when I go on holiday now and when I sit down with my family it will click then that I was actually here and I’ve done this.”
After arriving in Australia as a child from the war-torn Balkans, he spent 11 years in Sydney where he played under Ange Postecoglou in the Joeys before making the move to Germany as a teenager.
There he spent five years building his career in one of the most competitive football cultures in the world.
He's now established at 1860 Munich having played 30 games this season.
Now, Degenek desperately wants to help Australia qualify for a fourth consecutive World Cup and is fired up to be the best he can be for his country.
“I got here, got in the national team, I was hoping to be part of the England squad and in the back of my mind hoping to get on the pitch.
“I ended up getting on there and ended up staying. Coming [back] to Australia after five years and playing. I can just tell you it’s positive,” he said.
“A real dream come true and it just one of those things that motivates me a lot more to keep working and just to have this hunger to be the best professional and to develop and to just keep working to make all my dreams come true.”
And as the Road to Russia 2018 progresses into the business end of qualification, the powerfully built Degenek is desperate to make the next Soccereoo squad for the Iraq World Cup qualifier in Perth on September 1.
To that end, he says the team will have learnt some valuable lessons from the recent three internationals.
"We can learn a lot as a team. I think the short turnaround, it’s a bit difficult… we stuck to the game plan and did what the boss asked of us and I think only in the future we will benefit from doing what he asked us to do.
“We will develop as a team, hopefully I stay a part of the team and together we continue to work and continue to build.
“I think we’re heading the right way, I believe in what the boss is telling us and the whole coaching staff and I think in the end it will come out good.”
He added: “I just want to do the best and give everything back that I can to the people here who have believed in me.”