Australia left-back Brad Smith said the step up to international football has been made easier by the similarities between Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Speaking after Australia’s second session at Sunderland’s Academy of Light ahead of Friday’s sold-out international friendly with England, the athletic 22-year-old defender stressed the similarities between his two managers.
And why it suits him down to the ground.
“The way they coach is different but the style they want to play is quite similar,” Smith said. “It’s high intense football and they want to press a lot.”
Asked if that suited him, Smith was adamant: “Definitely. So going from Liverpool to here [the Socceroos] having the same type of football helps.”
Sydney-born Smith is tipped to start again for the Socceroos after starting XI roles against Jordan and Tajikistan in March’s World Cup qualifiers.
And making 10 appearances with Liverpool helps his cause.
Right now, he is cementing his Socceroo place in a position that is clearly up for grabs going into the final phase of World Cup qualifiers.
“It’s a great squad and obviously I’ve played the last two games and we’ve done well as a team and I’m happy and enjoying my football and hopefully nail a spot down [in the national team],” Smith said.
“Obviously every time I put on the shirt I try my best. Hopefully I can nail the spot down for the upcoming competitions and friendlies.”
Interestingly, Smith has played with a number of England players when he represented the Europeans at U-17 level. One was Harry Kane.
Another who could start is his Liverpool team-mate Daniel Sturridge.
While Smith conceded it was a little weird facing a nation he has already represented – and both his parents are from England, a country he has resided in since he was 14 – Smith stressed: “I’m an Aussie now.”
The full-back, who has two more years on his Liverpool contract, is clearly more settled at the club after a messy contract situation was sorted out shortly after Klopp arrived at Anfield, with the German clearly impressed with the cover Smith can provide on the left.
“Klopp likes what he sees when I go forward but he’s helped with my defensive side,” noted Smith, whose attacking side is also favoured by Postecoglou. “And Klopp is a really cool guy and really down to earth to be honest. His man management skills with all the players are great.
“I think that’s great for a manager that he’s always talking to the players and not just the starting XI.
“Hopefully do well in pre-season, work hard, stay fit and see what happens from there and stay at the club. But if not speak to the manager and if he wants me to go out on loan for the experience I’m happy to do that as well.”