Despite his surprise at being called up, Caltex Socceroo full back Josh Risdon says his fitness won’t be a problem if he’s called up to play for Australia on Thursday.
Ahead of Thursday night’s World Cup qualifier with Iraq at Perth’s Rectangular Stadium, the Perth Glory full back was the right man in the right place when a toe injury robbed Preston's Bailey Wright of the chance to join the Socceroos this week.
Risdon got the call up and he was front and centre of a large media throng in Perth on Monday as Thursday night's game takes centre stage in the WA capital this week.
“Getting the late call up was a big shock to me. But the fact the game’s in Perth is extra special for me in front of friends and families," Risdon told reporters.
Risdon, who played for Australia against England last May in Sunderland, was one of a number of Hyundai A-League players overlooked for this game and the following clash with UAE in Abu Dhabi on September 6.
“Not being called up to the initial squad probably drove me on a bit more obviously with me being in pre-season might have been a factor," he said.
“We’ve been in pre-season for two months and I’m feeling very fit and if I do manage to get on the pitch, I’ll be up for it.
“Obviously not being involved in the initial squad was a bit disappointing but now I’ve got the late call up, it’s driven me on.”
And Risdon, if he gets a chance, may know a little more about Iraq than most.
Glory faced the Iraqis in a friendly in recent days drawing 2-2.
“I played the first half [against Iraq] and they are a very good side. Not sure if it was their full team though.”
And if he gets on, Risdon may just mark a familiar face in the Iraqi side.
“Ali Abbas [the former Sydney FC attacking defender] I’ve come up against him in the A-League and he’s done really well. He’s a familiar face coming up against him, so it’ll be good.”
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