Socceroo midfielder Matt McKay says the brilliant performances recently by a host of national team stars around the globe is inspiring the squad for Thursday’s FIFA 2018 Russia World Cup Qualifier™ against Bangladesh in Perth.
A host of Australian players have been making a splash in leagues abroad of late, headlined by goal-keeper Mat Ryan’s stunning exploits in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League with Valencia.
And in Europe on the weekend Tom Rogic and Mathew Leckie scored crucial goals for Celtic and FC Ingolstadt respectively, while Massimo Luongo starred in QPR’s triumph.
Tim Cahill continues to score goals in the Chinese Super League while Nathan Burns has also been on target in the J-League in recent weeks.
It’s ensured a confident aura amongst Ange Postecoglou’s squad as they prepare for two crucial qualifeirs over the next week.
“It does [give the squad a boost],” said McKay, as he and team-mate Matthew Spiranovic visited Perth Mint on Monday.
“It’s the start of the season for a lot of the guys in Europe and a lot of them have done really well.
“It’s only going to help the national team and they are going to come in with a positive mindset.
“If they can produce those performances for us, it’s good signs for the Socceroos.”
One European-based player that won’t be involved for the upcoming qualifiers is skipper Mile Jedinak, who suffered a hamstring injury playing for Crystal Palace.
It’s opened up spot in what is likely to be a midfield-three against Bangladesh, with McKay battling the likes of Mark Milligan, Luongo, Rogic, Aaron Mooy and Jackson Irvine for a starting role.
Despite being in pre-season with Hyundai A-League club Brisbane Roar, the Roar great says he’s in top condition to go the full 90 against Bangladesh.
But he knows he has a battle to win break into the starting XI, declaring depth for the national team at an all-time high.
“We’ve got some guys that have missed out on this squad that are regulars,” McKay said.
“Obviously they will come back in. Some other guys have been given chances for this camp. It’s great and it’s great.
“We need that depth and Ange has been quite strong in getting the depth up the last few years. Everyone is on their toes and really looking forward to impressing and getting some game time.
“I’m in good nick,” he added. “We’ve had a really strong pre-season under John Aloisi at Brisbane and played a lot of games already.
“I’m feeling fit but as I said with Mile and some of the other boys out, it’s going to open up opportunities for other boys in the squad. Whoever is selected will do a job.”
McKay admits he knows very little about the 170th-ranked Bangladesh but says the narrow win over minnows Kyrgyzstan in June means they can’t take any nation lightly.
“There is never any danger of that now,” he said.
“We saw when we played Kyrgyzstan the last game and we saw how good an opponent they were and they tested us immensely. We won’t be taking this one lightly.
“I’m sure the coaching staff have a plan of how they want to play the game and we have to execute that.”
Only half of the squad had assembled in Perth as of Monday morning (local time) with the majority to fly in later in the afternoon and evening.
Some of the squad will be put through the side’s first training session at nib Stadium at 4pm local time on Monday.
Socceroo Match Details
Australia v Bangladesh
3 September 2015
nib Stadium, Perth
7pm (AWT) kick off (9pm AEST)
The Socceroos matches against Bangladesh and Tajikistan will be broadcast exclusively LIVE on FOX SPORTS 4 (channel 505) and on a one hour delay on SBS.