All-action Socceroo defender Ivan Franjic says if the Aussies went all the way to the Asian Cup final, he’d be okay to last the distance.
Impressively, Franjic, 27, has played every minute of the first three games of the Asian Cup.
In the heat of an Aussie summer, the Russian-based former Brisbane Roar FC star has been a willing runner, powering up and down the right side of defence to attack.
But with right back Chris Herd back in England after succumbing to injury, the Socceroos are relying on Franjic to remain fit enough for the rest of the Cup, with only Mark Milligan and perhaps Trent Sainsbury as potential replacements in his position.
But the Melbourne-born defender assured fans he's up for the task, thanks to a mini pre-season last month.
“I’ll be fine. Our season [in Russia] finished on December 8 so I went two and a half weeks with a conditioning coach preparing for this [the Asian Cup,” the Torpedo Moscow player told reporters on Tuesday.
“I knew I’d be playing a few games. So I’ll be fine, I’ll be ready and I just can’t wait to go to the final.
“I feel good. My body’s getting stronger and stronger every day and with the games my match fitness is getting better.”
Franjic is set to play on the right this Thursday night in Australia’s do-or-die quarter-final with China at Brisbane Stadium.
And the defender, to his credit, had the guts to say he could’ve done better on Korea Republic’s goal last Saturday.
The 1-0 loss meant the Socceroos lost their chance of top spot in Group A, as a result drawing Group B winners China in the last eight.
“It was obviously disappointing," Franjic said of the Korea Republic goa.
"It was a throw-in and we switched off for two seconds and we let our mans go.
“I’ll take responsibility for that. Maybe I should’ve organised that better. But it’s happened and we have to move on.”
Meanwhile, with the two days of rest and recovery the Socceroos have blended into Brisbane’s summer vibe seamlessly.
Degenek not taking his foot off the gas
Twelve months ago, Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek was playing in Japan — now, he’s tearing up Serbia’s SuperLiga, having been named in the league’s best eleven for the first half of the season. It’s a credit to Degenek, 24, who signed with Red Star Belgrade in July
Degenek named in Serbian Superliga's best XI
Caltex Socceroos defender Milos Degenek has been named in the Serbian Superliga’s best eleven players of the first half of the season after his performances for Red Star Belgrade. AUSSIES ABROAD: Sainsbury denies former club Inter in first UCL start READ MORE: Where you can w
FFA to conduct additional injury assessment with Aaron Mooy
Football Federation Australia (FFA) acknowledges Huddersfield Town’s statement regarding Aaron Mooy released on Thursday morning (AEDT). Due to the significance of the AFC Asian Cup to the Caltex Socceroos, FFA will proceed with a plan to deploy its High Performance Coordina
Aussies Abroad: Rogic and Vukovic progress to Europa League Round of 32
The Europa League Round of 32 will have an Aussie flavour after Tom Rogic and Danny Vukovic both sealed their progression to the knockout stage of Europe’s second-tier competition. Rogic played 90 minutes as Celtic did it the hard way, their 2-1 loss at the hands of FC Salzbur