A few weeks ago Alex Wilkinson was no certainty to even make the Socceroos' 30-man preliminary World Cup squad.
But the Jeonbuk Motors centre-back is now not only on his way to Brazil with the squad on Wednesday but an even-money chance to start in the heart of defence in the tournament opener against Chile.
With Curtis Good (hip) missing out on the squad due to injury and limited options for coach Ange Postecoglou at centre-back, Wilkinson looms as a key cog for the Socceroos next month.
Matthew Spiranovic is widely considered to have one central defensive position wrapped up with the likes of Wilkinson, Ryan McGowan and Bailey Wright to fight for the other spot.
"I haven't got too much experience internationally but I'm 29, I've played a lot of games and I think I can definitely do a job if called upon," Wilkinson said after Monday's 1-1 friendly draw with South Africa.
"I'll definitely put my hand up but it's up to the boss [Postecoglou] now.
"I'm still hopeful. There's still a number of guys who have got to miss out which is unfortunate.
"Hopefully I've done enough to make the final 23. I did all I could tonight and I hope it's enough."
Wilkinson made his first Socceroos start – and just his second ever appearance – in the draw with Bafana Bafana and looked solid alongside despite a shaky start.
It was the first time he and McGowan had ever played alongside each other and while they were exposed at times, they are sure to be better for the hit-out.
"I was a bit nervous to start with but I got into the game and I think things went ok," Wilkinson said of his performance against South Africa.
"The first 20 minutes I thought we started really well and probably could have been two or three up but they got us with the sucker punch.
"The end of the first half was a bit scrappy but it was tough conditions out there, the pitch wasn't great.
"The boys tried to stick to the game plan as much as they could. Most of all was great to get 90 minutes out of a lot of the guys and get some match practice."
Asked if he believes he now has a chance to cement his spot for Brazil, a coy Wilkinson said: "You've got to have depth, that's just not in centre-back role but that's across the squad.
"You have to be ready because you never know when you're going to be called upon. You have to be ready to go and if you get the call you have to put your best foot forward.
"I've played a lot of games in Korea the last few months, it's been pretty frantic but it's left me in good stead to come into camp with these boys."
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