James Donachie says this Olyroos group has built a great bond over the years which he hopes will end with a berth at the Rio Olympics. But it's one of the new players from Victory that's really impressed him.
Donachie is arguably the most experienced of a young defensive group Vidmar will rely on to provide the solid foundation in Qatar at the AFC U-23 Championships (which double as Rio qualfiiers).
But one of the new young faces could push for a starting XI berth in Qatar alongside the big Roar stopper.
“Most of the [defenders] that will play here have been in camp before, besides Thomas Deng but I’ve seen him play and Thomas is a brilliant player,” Donachie said of the Victory rising star, just 18 years of age.
The Olyroos' Group D games in Doha:
• UAE this Thursday January 14 (Friday morning AEDT)
• Vietnam January 17
• Jordan January 20
While the Kenyan-born Deng is a new face, the majority of Aurelio Vidmar’s squad at the AFC U-23 Championships in Doha have come through the youth ranks for Australia, with this their final chance to make an impact on the world stage together.
“We’re around each other a fair bit, we go on camps for a month at a time so we know each other well, sometimes probably too much,” Donachie told FFA TV.
“The main core group has been around each other for a long time so we know each other pretty well.
“It would mean everything [to qualify for the Olympics], that’s what we’re here to do,” the Brisbane Roar defender added.
“The Olympic Games in Rio is something you want to be at. We’d be pretty excited if we get there.”
“I’m pretty confident we’ll do pretty well.
“I feel good, mentally and physically,” he added. “If you’re lucky enough to play Olyroos and in your club team as well then good on you but sometimes it’s not that easy as I’ve found out.
“But I feel good, training has been good at Roar with [John Aloisi] so I feel pretty sharp.”
Former Socceroo Matt McKay to retire at season's end
Brisbane Roar skipper and 59-time Caltex Socceroo Matt McKay has decided the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season will be his last, bringing to an end his 18-year professional journey. McKay confirmed his retirement on Thursday, bringing down the curtain on a glittering career for
Aussies Abroad: Ryan’s Brighton in danger of relegation after Cardiff defeat
Maty Ryan’s Brighton & Hove Albion are perilously close to the relegation zone in the English Premier League after slumping to a 2-0 defeat at home against Cardiff City on Wednesday morning (AEST). There was little the Caltex Socceroos gloveman could do to keep out a goal in e
The Green & Gold gift for Mooy fan that went viral
The story of young American girl Bella’s passion for Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy made headlines at the start of this month when Mooy’s club, Huddersfield Town, kindly invited her and her Father to England to watch the Terriers play Leicester City in the Premier League. Be
Maty Ryan set for Brighton's huge Premier League tie with Cardiff City
Caltex Socceroos star Mathew Ryan is set to play in arguably the most important match of Brighton & Hove Albion’s English Premier League season to date, against Cardiff City on Wednesday morning (AEST). Ryan, 27, can help his team take a huge step away from the relegation zone