Melbourne Victory defender Thomas Deng admits he was shocked by his call-up to Graham Arnold’s Caltex Socceroos squad.
Deng was one of four uncapped players included in the 25-man squad on Friday for next week’s training camp in the UAE and an international friendly against Kuwait on Tuesday, October 16 (AEST).
While Deng has represented Australia at youth level, this is his first selection in a senior national squad and the 21-year-old conceded it caught him by surprise.
"When I heard the news two days ago that I was in the final squad, I was surprised," Deng said.
"I’m just amazed and very happy to be called up for my first camp.
“I’m going to go there, work hard and try to enjoy it as much as I can."
While Deng was excellent for Victory in their charge to the Championship in the Hyundai A-League last season, he also impressed Arnold at the recent Australian U-23 training camp in Canberra.
The Kenyan-born defender has played the majority of his young career as a centre-back but Arnold admitted he is also looking at Deng in a potential right-back role.
“He played quite a bit of right-back at Melbourne Victory and did exceptionally well,” the Caltex Socceroos boss told reporters on Friday.
“I had Thomas in camp down in Canberra at the AIS and I was really excited about what he brought to that camp but also the way he dealt with a lot of situations playing right-back in training as well as centre-back.”
The Kuwait match is the first of three key friendlies before Australia’s AFC Asian Cup defence in the UAE in January.
The Caltex Socceroos will play two more friendlies on home soil next month against Korea Republic in Brisbane on Saturday, November 17, before taking on Lebanon in Sydney three days later.
Milicic ‘extremely proud’ of Young Socceroos comeback
Young Socceroos boss Ante Milicic praised his side’s “strong Australian mentality” after they battled back to salvage a 1-1 draw in their AFC U-19 Championship opener against Korea Republic. Melbourne City’s Ramy Najjarine came off the bench to score a stunning 89th-minute equ
Update to Young Socceroos squad for AFC U19 Championship
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has confirmed on Friday a change to the Young Socceroos squad that is competing at the 2018 AFC U19 Championship in Indonesia. Young Socceroos coach Ante Milicic has brought in Melbourne City FC’s Connor Metcalfe to replace Western Sydney Wa
When are your Caltex Socceroos in action this weekend?
Awer Mabil will be among the Aussies taking Caltex Socceroos form back to the club grind as Aaron Mooy braces for a huge Premier League test this weekend. Meanwhile, there's a match not to be missed in Scotland that's set to showcase several of our overseas stars. Read on t