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Promotion feats boost Socceroos' hopes: Jackson Irvine

3 minute read

Midfielder Jackson Irvine says the influx of Australians playing in football's 'big-five' leagues can only bode well for the Socceroos.

JACKSON IRVINE. Picture: Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Jackson Irvine is bullish that the promotion exploits enjoyed by a strong cohort of Australian players can be a springboard to greater success with the Socceroos.

The 31-year-old Irvine, who plays for German club St Pauli, was one of several Socceroos to earn promotion to one of Europe's top-five leagues in recent months.

Irvine and fellow midfielder Connor Metcalfe secured a spot in the Bundesliga and Parma defender Alessandro Circati will play in Serie A next season, while Harry Souttar (Leicester City) and Cameron Burgess (Ipswich Town) have joined Aston Villa goalkeeper Joe Gauci in the English Premier League.

Adelaide United wunderkind Nestory Irankunda, in Socceroos camp this month, is on the brink of a highly anticipated move to German giants Bayern Munich.

Australia reached the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but Irvine wants that to be base camp, rather than the summit of what the latest breed of Socceroos can achieve.

"We've built a brilliant foundation over the last few years," Irvine said ahead of Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

"That's why we're here. We want to be a part of this team, we want to continue to see this team develop, get better, move forward and grow.

"The younger players that are coming in and playing at the highest level are only going to make us stronger in that sense ... for these younger guys to have made that step now can be a huge marker."

Irvine enjoyed beer-laden promotion celebrations with St Pauli and said he would only begin to get excited about next year's Bundesliga campaign when the fixture list comes out.

The experienced midfielder will be leaned on heavily by coach Graham Arnold in the coming days, with skipper Mat Ryan absent for Thursday's meeting with Bangladesh and next Tuesday's clash with Palestine in Perth.

Australia have already reached the final stage of qualification for the 2026 World Cup but Irvine is determined to finish their last two fixtures with a pair of clean-sheet wins.

"We want to keep breaking records, carry on winning streaks and keep clean sheets," Irvine said.

"Whether it's a friendly, whether it's a qualifier, whether it's a game against one of the best teams in the world - the mentality never really changes."

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