Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Keanu Baccus hopes his time with the Australian U-23 side in January will boost his burgeoning Hyundai A-League career even more.
The 19-year-old showed his potential with a man-of-the-match display for Western Sydney Wanderers in their 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners last Saturday night in the A-League.
And Baccus’ performances haven’t gone unnoticed, with the central midfielder named in Australia’s squad for January's AFC U23 Championships in China.
“I’m very happy. I’m grateful for being selected,” Baccus told www.socceroos.com.au.
“It is a huge honour. I get to play with the calibre of players that are picked so, hopefully, I can improve myself. It’s great to be playing alongside those players.”
Caltex Socceroos assistant coach Ante Milicic is in charge of the team, with the squad set to go into camp in early January to prepare for the tournament.
Baccus admitted he’s relishing the chance to work under Milicic and hopes to use the experience to help his development.
“I’m expecting it to be very tough, high intensity. It’s high quality coaching with Ante [Milicic] ... so it’s going to be very good to get to train under him.
“I feel very honoured. Obviously, he’s been working with the first team [Socceroos] so he knows the calibre you need to be at and the standard, so it’ll be good to learn from him.
“I’m just trying to take it step by step and game by game. I’m trying to improve every game and help the team win if I can, not looking too far ahead. “
While suggesting he’s still getting used to the pace of the A-League, Baccus is happy with his progress and hopes to earn more first-team action as the season progresses.
“It’s very fast. It’s physical as everyone knows but I’m just happy to be coming up to pace with it.
“Hopefully I can keep playing, doing well and we can keep winning as a team.
“Definitely as a young boy I want to improve and just become the best that I can be.
"When I get back at the end of January, just to crack back into the squad would be good and to get as many minutes as I can.”
YOUR SAY: Fans decide Tim Cahill's best Caltex Socceroos moment
Australian football fans have had their say and now Tim Cahill's greatest Caltex Socceroos moment can be revealed. LEGEND: Cahill to get Caltex Socceroos send-off in Lebanon game DON'T MISS OUT: Be there when we farewell a legend Ahead of his farewell to international foot
Aussies Abroad: Rogic and Vukovic prevail in UEFA Europa League openers
A bumper morning of UEFA Europa League fixtures produced mixed results for our Caltex Socceroos. Here's our wrap of all the morning action! PROGRESS REPORT: Awer Mabil assessed AUSSIES ABROAD: Degenek denies Napoli on UEFA Champions League debut MORE AUSSIES ABROAD: Arzan
'Pace and ability': Meulensteen excited by new artillery in Caltex Socceroos setup
He helped make Cristiano Ronaldo a superstar and now ex-Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen likes what he sees from Australia's emerging crop of attackers. The former Fulham manager and United youth guru worked with the Caltex Socceroos for the first time this
Throwback Thursday: Luongo shines against Kuwait in AFC Asian Cup 2015
Graham Arnold's new era gets underway when the Caltex Socceroos visit Kuwait for an important friendly on October 15. The match will bring back precious memories for the squad members present at the last meeting with the Western Asian nation. On that occasion, in front of a