His toughest pre-season ever and a sensational August filled with eye-catching goals have Tomi Juric confident his is ready to make his mark as a Socceroo.
The Western Sydney Wanderers FC striker is in line to get a crack at European big-boys Belgium in Friday morning’s (AEST) friendly in Liege.
While he has three caps to his name already – at last year’s East Asian Cup – this is Juric’s first crack in a near full-strength Socceroos squad.
And the 23-year-old deserves his shot having starred for the Wanderers in their epic ACL quarter-final win over Guangzhou as well as scoring against Italian champions Juventus in the Foxtel A-League All Stars game.
“August was a good month for me,” an excited Juric said from Socceroos camp on Tuesday.
“I worked really hard in pre-season and set myself a goal to be at a certain level once we reached the Champions League campaign.
“I managed to score the penalty against Guangzhou and I did well in the All Stars. Scoring in the All Stars (game) helped me lift my confidence a bit and gave me some confidence in myself after such a hard year last year coming back from injury.
“I got off to a great start thanks to having a great pre-season and I’m hoping to keep that going for the season now.”
With Josh Kennedy and Adam Taggart both absent from Ange Postecoglou’s 20-man squad, Juric is in line to get some game time against Belgium.
While Tim Cahill is likely to start against the Red Devils, Juric is expected to be thrown into the action at some point at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.
It will pitch-fork him into a battle with the likes of Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany and Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen.
“It’s something I haven’t experienced at that level but I’m excited by the challenge as well,” Juric said.
“I haven’t been in those waters before and I’d like to test it out. As a footballer you always want to play against the best and Belgium are one of those teams with such quality that they have and how many players they have playing in big leagues.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us but I’m sure the boys will put in a great effort and work hard in training to make sure we’re prepared as we can be for these games.
Caltex Socceroos meet young Aussie ‘Playmakers’ in the UAE
The Caltex Socceroos took time out after training to meet with some young Australian fans in the United Arab Emirates last week ahead of Monday’s solid 4-0 win over Kuwait in Kuwait City. The young Australians, who live in the UAE, are part of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019’s Play
‘An amazing story’: Patrice Evra leads social media tributes to Mabil, Deng debuts
There was a lot to like about the Caltex Socceroos win over Kuwait on Tuesday (AEDT) but arguably the biggest highlight was the international debuts of youngsters Awer Mabil and Thomas Deng. The pair were both second-half substitutes and combined on the right flanks, with Mabi
Stats review: Breaking down the Caltex Socceroos win over Kuwait
The Caltex Socceroos made a blistering start to the Graham Arnold era on Tuesday morning (AEDT) with their emphatic 4-0 win over Kuwait. The performance and result not only made a big statement of what this Australian team is set to deliver under their new boss, but also snapp
Opposition watch: Korea Republic stays unbeaten despite surrendering lead
Korea Republic’s unbeaten run has continued ahead of next month’s friendly against the Caltex Socceroos after a draw with Panama on Wednesday morning (AEDT). After last week’s impressive 2-1 win over Uruguay in Seoul, the Koreans were held to a 2-2 draw by the Central American