Caltex Socceroos left-back Alex Gersbach has settled well in the Norwegian League which he hopes will help his cause for an international debut in his hometown Sydney against Greece on Saturday night.
Gersbach missed last week's England game due to club commitments with Rosenborg but is back in the squad for the two-game Dodoni Series in Sydney and then Melbourne next Tuesday night.
The 19-year-old comes into camp having featured seven times for the Norwegian league leaders since his mid-year switch from Sydney FC and says he’s relishing his new surrounds.
“Life in Norway is really good. I’m really enjoying myself and we’re five points clear at the top of the table,” Gersbach told reporters on Wednesday.
“It’s a different style of game. The main difference is in Norway [to the Hyundai A-League] is it’s more end-to-end football and everyone’s attacking and trying to score every time you get the ball.
“It’s a bit more full-on, that’s the main difference. There’s different styles you have to adapt to and the way we play over in Norway it’s a bit different to the way we played in Sydney.
“It takes time to accustom to that but each game I play and every time I get out on the field I feel more comfortable.
“When I get back after the break I’ll be working really hard to get into the starting XI and try to cement a spot. Until I do that I won’t be fully comfortable.”
For a kid that was born in Sutherland and got his start in professional football at Sydney FC, the chance to make his senior international debut in his home city would be a dream come true for Gersbach.
“I started playing football when I was four-years-old because my brother played and it was a part of the family.
"Ever since you are that age, the highest point is playing for the Socceroos, that’s every kids dream and I’m no different,” he said.
“It would be really special in Sydney but I’m not going to pick and choose when I want to make my debut, I’ll take it when it comes and hopefully I’ll make the most of it.”
Gersbach was part of the squad for the March qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan without seeing any game time but with two games in three days, should be involved in one of the two matches against Greece.
Liverpool star Brad Smith has been Ange Postecoglou’s first-choice left-back for the last few games but Gersbach’s pace and excellent crossing for a teenager means there is genuine depth in that area.
“I love to get forward from deep and join the attack but I’ve been working on the defensive side of things as well,” Gersbach said.
“Hopefully I can improve that part of my game too which is important.”
While he admits he doesn’t know a lot about the Greek squad, Gersbach was expecting a difficult fight but hopes the Socceroos can put on a show for the home fans.
“I know they [Greece] are full of quality and have some top class players. We’ll be wary of that, we’ll do our analysis and we’ll be well aware of what’s going on with them,” he said.
“We’re at home in front of our home crowds, Sydney and Melbourne, and of course we want to win the games. We’ll be doing all we can to make sure that happens.”
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