Bailey Wright says he hopes he showed enough to keep his Socceroos staring spot, desperate to test his newly-formed defensive partnership with Matthew Spiranovic in Tajikistan.
Wright’s first international outing on home soil turned out to be a comfortable one as the Socceroos defence was hardly tested in the 5-0 rout of Bangladesh on Thursday night in their second group game FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 ™ Qualifier.
With the injured Holland-based Trent Sainsbury not included in this squad, most pundits expected the experienced Alex Wilkinson to get the nod alongside Spiranovic at centre-back.
But Wright was preferred and didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the 90 minutes.
He knows hopes he can show coach Ange Postecoglou even more of his abilities in the white-hot furnace of an away World Cup qualifier in Dushanbe.
“I always had the confidence I’d be in with a chance [to start]. I came into camp and worked hard every session,” the Preston North End defender said.
“Being in the starting 11 is where I want to be and hopefully I can keep that shirt.
“We’ll prepare [for Tajikistan] just the same as we did for this game. We’ll do our research on them but make sure we’re on top of our game and make sure that’s how we play.
“I got a taste [against Bangladesh] and I’m confident I did pretty well…I’ll take each games as it comes, keep pushing and see if I can stay involved.
“[Spiranovic] is a good player and it would be nice to form a partnership with him.”
In truth it would be hard to get a gauge on the strength of their combination on the Bangladesh result but the signs are certainly encouraging.
Wright said while the home side had most of the ball and were camped in the Bengal Tigers’ half, the defenders still faced their challenges.
“It’s one of those games where you have to make sure you stay switched on and concentrated,” Wright explained.
“Ultimately we had a lot of the ball but you had to focus off it as well to make sure we’re organized and we did that well.
“It’s a different challenge and you have to stay patient. Sometimes in games like that you can ball-watch and switch off and they can hurt you.
“We didn’t and kept a clean sheet so it’s pleasing.”
Wright feels he is at the top of his game at the moment after making a strong start to the season with Preston in the English Championship.
“I’m in tougher league now, playing against great opposition and some good players,” he said.
“Hopefully that can make me a better player and will give me better chance of staying in the team here.”