James Troisi is determined to earn a starting role for Australia at the Asian Cup, but some tactical tweaks from Ange Postecoglou mean he could yet do so alongside - rather than ahead of - fellow playmaker Mark Bresciano.
Formerly on the books at Newcastle United and Juventus, Troisi has been in excellent form for his Belgian club Zulte Waregem and started both of the Socceroos' last two friendlies against Japan and Qatar.
Having brought Troisi to Melbourne Victory on loan shortly before his departure for the national team job last season, Australia coach Postecoglou is a confirmed admirer of the 26-year-old, who is pushing hard to play at No.10 for his country when their Asian Cup campaign kicks off on January 9.
"For me that's my best position, that's where you're going to get the best out of me," he said.
"That's where I'm playing at the moment, that's one of the main reasons (for) coming back here and going to Belgium as well. I knew I was going to be playing in that position that suits me best.
"I've been doing my best at club football and coming in to this camp continuing to show what I can do."
In addition to Troisi, Bresciano and Massimo Luongo are more than capable of pulling the strings in attacking midfield, while newcomer Terry Antonis will try and make his case for selection during the Socceroos' pre-tournament training camp.
"It's good that we have a bit of competition, it keeps everyone on their toes which is what you want," Troisi said.
"It's good to see the quality we've got in the squad."
Bresciano isn't just there as competition for Troisi though, with the 34-year-old also acting as a mentor and potentially a partner in crime on the field against Kuwait, Oman and South Korea.
"You look at the older, experienced boys, you take bits and pieces from them, you learn different things," Troisi said when asked about the veteran of three World Cup campaigns.
"Bresc has been, and still is, a very good player for a very long time. I think we've tweaked the formation a little bit as well so we'll probably be playing with two No.10's. Which is great."
The would-be playmakers face a nervous wait to discover who Postecoglou picks in his starting XI, but they'll leave nothing to chance in pushing their claims in the coming days.
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