Caltex Socceroos' midfielder Jackson Irvine says the side’s 2-1 victory over Hungary on Sunday morning highlights a newfound tenacity within the squad.
While Australia didn’t quite muster a performance to rival their comprehensive 4-0 victory over Czech Republic nine days ago, the 25-year-old was adamant that the win will be just as valuable for Bert van Marwijk’s men.
Irvine, who arrived into the action as one of two match-changing substitutions from van Marwijk a little over the hour mark, says the Caltex Socceroos will take great confidence from the manner in which they grafted the win.
“I think it’s maybe a game we might not have always won in recent times and I think that shows how far we’ve come,” the Hull City man told socceroos.com.au.
“We’ve always had a very good mentality of not losing games but maybe sometimes we’ve drawn games, particularly in the qualification process, that we [maybe] haven’t played particularly well and couldn’t quite nick that win.
“It shows the experience that we’ve gathered as a team and I think as we’ve grown together we’re finding ways to win games when things aren’t going particularly smoothly out there and tonight was probably the perfect example of that.”
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After helping the Caltex Socceroos gain a foothold in the contest and playing a crucial part in forging Australia’s injury-time equalizer, Irvine has given van Marwijk food for thought following his excellent second half cameo.
As attention now shifts toward the Dutchman’s starting XI for Australia’s Group C opener against France in six days’ time, there was no better time for Irvine to offer a reminder of his value to the Caltex Socceroos’ set-up in the middle third.
The 25-year-old has proven a viable option across the midfield for the Caltex Socceroos since his debut in 2013 - whether it be in a box-to-box, deeper-lying or more advanced role - and Irvine says he can make an impact when Australia touches down in Russia.
“When I came on I think we’ve always seen [that] when I play in that [advanced] position I’m a completely different type of player,” Irvine said.
“I was pleased with the impact that I made, I tried to make some forward runs and the game had opened up a little bit by that point so I tried to bring some energy and some fresh legs into the team and luckily that led to us getting in behind for the second goal.”
The Caltex Socceroos will now jet into Kazan having secured a second consecutive win over European opposition in their final pre-tournament friendly.
Australia commences their FIFA World Cup™ campaign against France next Saturday 16 June, 8.00pm (AEST).
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