Socceroo young gun Chris Ikonomidis says his call-up to the national team has given him a surge of confidence which has pushed him to new levels at Serie A club Lazio.
Ikonomidis has been a star for the Lazio’s youth side, helping them win the recent Italian Youth Cup, and was rewarded with a new five-year deal with the Rome club.
“I think [making my international debut] helped a lot, everyone’s also looked at me in a different light,” he told FFA TV.
“They’re thinking ‘this kid’s already debuted for his national senior team, he must be worth something’.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity that they’ve given me a couple of months ago and it’s just a matter of working hard and taking it with two hands.
“Five years is a long time but I’m confident I can do well at the club and everyone seems to love me. Hopefully everything goes well,” he added.
The 20-year-old made his Socceroos debut in the most recent friendly against Macedonia in March and is itching to get another taste in the opening World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan.
While he’s a newcomer to the national set-up, Ikonomidis already feels he belongs due to the trust coach Ange Postecoglou has in him.
“The boss believes a lot in us young players, even though our experience isn’t as high as some,” he said.
“Just look at Massimo Luongo, he’s really made big steps this last year…and big steps for his future as well.
“I think everyone can really give a hand to the squad and pull us through to Russia.”
Asked about the clash against the little-known Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek, Ikonomidis said: “We’re expecting a tough match but we’re always going to focus on ourselves.
“We’ll study the opposition as best we can with videos and meetings and lots of talking to be done before the match.
“But if we do our game and play the way we know, we can win.”