Smith's Swindon connection with Iraqi star

Caltex Socceroos Brad Smith could face a former Swindon teammate when Australia face Iraq in a vital World Cup qualifier on Thursday night in Perth.

When Bournemouth’s Smith went on loan in 2014 from Liverpool to Swindon in League One, he played alongside his Socceroo teammate Massimo Luongo. 

He also played with an Iraqi star set to start at Perth’s Rectangular Stadium on Thursday night.

“When I was on loan at Swindon with Mass [Luongo] we had Yaser Kasim. He’s a very good player, he plays in the number 10 role,” Smith, 22, told reporters on Tuesday.

Smith, however, played down any potential on-pitch banter with the 25-year-old Baghdad born star and 2015 Iraqi player of the year.

“Me and Mass might have a bit of banter with him… but maybe after the game, not while the game’s going.

“We need to be focussed to get the win.

“He’s a good player and they’ll be a very good team. A tricky game but I think we’ll get the result.”

Smith arrived from the UK in the early hours of Monday morning and trained lightly on Monday night at Perth’s Rectangular Stadium later in the day. 

Caltex Socceroos train in Perth: report

Socceroos training

While Smith is yet to make his EPL debut with Bournemouth, he feels his game time in the league Cup and friendlies will stand him in good stead for Iraq on Thursday night and UAE  the following Tuesday night in Abu Dhabi. 

“I feel good. Training’s been really hard. Before that I played the pre-season games with Bournemouth and before that Liverpool. And that game [against Morecombe] was last week so I feel good and ready to go.

"It’s difficult because Charlie Daniels has been in there for many, many years and I think he’s [Eddie Howe] ultimately got to go with him at the start,” Smith explaiend when quizzed on his wait for an EPL bow with the Cherries.

“Once I get my chance I’ve got to take it with both hands. And then stay in the team. So I’ve got to wait for that. Played the Cup games for now, keep doing well and see what happens.”

Brad Smith

But for the moment, all his focus is on the first game of Australia’s final phase of qualification for Russia.

“The first game is very important to get it underway and get a good result against a tough team.

“It’ll be one of the tougher games in the group so we need to make sure we’re ready.”

And like the rest of this relatively youthful squad, a World Cup would be the ultimate fantasy come true.

“That’d be the best thing. Best thing in my career,” Smith said with a smile.

“It’s what you’d love to do. You dream of as a boy to go to a World Cup with the country you were born in. 

"It’s a chance for us, we have a very good squad and we can do it.”