Wilson: team bond will spark Australian U23’s in China

Midfielder Brandon Wilson believes the close bond in the Australian U23 squad will be crucial at January’s AFC U23 Championships and says the amount of Hyundai A-League players in the squad shows the competition’s quality.

Wilson was one of 15 players from the Hyundai A-League named in Ante Milicic’s 23-man squad on Tuesday for next month’s tournament in China.

“It’s really good. A lot of us youngsters now are getting a chance to show what we can do [in the Hyundai A-League],” Wilson told www.socceroos.com.au.

“We’re starting build our profiles in the league and having 15 out of 23 in the A-League shows it’s a good league and a good standard.

“Looking at the squad we have and who we have in the group I think we can do very well and get through,” the Perth Glory midfielder added.

“I feel like we are going to go far. I don’t want to jinx it or anything but I feel like if we don’t make the final, we’ll get the top three.”

Wilson and the rest of the squad will gather in China in early January for a preparatory camp, which will include an international friendly against Thailand in Shanghai on January 6.

They will then play its Group D matches against Syria (January 11), Vietnam (January 14), and Korea Republic (17 January) at the Kunshan Stadium in Jiangsu Province.

Ante Milicic
Australian U23 coach Ante Milicic

Australia’s results at the tournament will also impact the team’s seeding for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship, which will double as the qualification tournament for the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo, Japan.

With a lot riding on the team’s results at the tournament, Wilson says the spirit amongst the squad will be key.

“Whenever we’ve got together we’re a very close knit group, everyone gets a long and it shows on the pitch,” he said.

“We’re a real team, never get on anyone’s back for silly mistakes. We work for each other and that helps a lot for a team environment.

“You have to perform in every game you play in because you never know who is watching,” Wilson added.

“It’s very open these days for people to see how you do. This is now the time for you to play well and do well for your country.

“This is a massive opportunity, it’s a goal for everyone in the team to get into the Socceroos so everyone is going to be chomping at the bit for it.”