Brisbane Roar captain Matt Smith is looking to cement his place in Australia coach Holger Osieck’s plans following his call-up to the Socceroos.
The England-born defender was one of nine new faces named in the Socceroos’ provisional 25-man squad consisting predominantly of A-League players for next month’s East Asian Cup qualifying tournament, which is scheduled to run from December 1-9 in Hong Kong.
Australia’s defensive frailties have been evident throughout the final phase of World Cup qualifying and with Osieck yet to settle on a suitable centre back pairing, Smith is aware there is a chance to make a case for a spot in the heart of defence.
“I think it’s an opportunity for all central defenders,” said Smith, who recently received his international clearance.
“I’m very pleased to be in the frame at the moment, particularly after I just got the nod to be selected.
“I think there is a lot of good central defenders around and I’m certainly going to do my best to try and give myself the best opportunity to not only be picked for Hong Kong but in the future as well.”
Joining Smith in camp will be fellow newcomers Terry Antonis, Adam Taggart, Ivan Franjic, Aaron Mooy, Ben Halloran, Rostyn Griffiths, Osama Malik and Bosnian-born defender Dino Djulbic.
The Socceroos will be put through their paces during next week’s training camp before the squad is cut to 20 ahead of the December qualifiers, during which they will meet hosts Hong Kong, Guam, Chinese Taipei and North Korea for a place in next July’s East Asian Cup finals.
And Smith has urged his team-mates to take full advantage of their opportunity.
“It’s a great opportunity for all of us,” the 30-year-old said.
“For the guys from Asia and the guys from the A-League it’s an opportunity to impress in front of the head coach.”
t;w:LsdException Locked=”false” Priority=”72″ SemiHidden=”false”
UnhideWhenUsed=”false” Name=”Colorful List Accent 6″/>
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;