1860 Munich's Degenek tells Ange he's ready for Socceroos

1860 Munich midfielder Milos Degenek has declared himself ready and able to make a mark for Australia's senior national team, if the call comes from Ange Postecoglou.

Degenek

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Degenek, 21, officially pledged his international future to Australia in October, after representing Serbia at Under-19 level, and has already broken into Australia's Under-23 side.

The ex-Joeys skipper, who was born in Croatia but relocated with his family to Sydney aged eight, has missed just one game this season after being released by Bundesliga struggler Stuttgart in the northern summer after overcoming a long-term Achilles injury.

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And, with his confidence buoyed by the faith shown in him by 1860’s new coach Torsten Frohling, Degenek believes he could prove a positive addition to a Socceroos squad on the road to Russia 2018.

“Everybody’s dream is play for the national and if one day in the near future Ange comes and says, 'hey I'd like to have a look at you', I’d be the first person to jump over the moon and say 'yes of course, I’m coming'," Degenek said,

“I’m obviously at a good level, but it’s also the fact I am playing every week and that’s something every coach would take into account, and hopefully Ange will see that and think, 'I might as well have a look at him'.

“If I got the chance, I’d take it both hands. It wouldn't just be a question of saying, 'hey I am there and I am happy with that'. "No, if I go there I’d like to play and make sure that every time I go I am called into the first team. That would be my aim."
After a horror start to the season, 1860, who live in the gargantuan shadow cast by crosstown powerhouse Bayern, have drawn three and won two of their last five games, with Degenek deployed in a holding midfield role.

While still in the relegation places, they are showing signs of a staging a survival act.

“When a new coach comes in everybody turns around and acts a bit different, there’s a bit more life about the place," Degenek said.

“Thank God I am playing each week and doing well, and hopefully I keep developing as a person and as a footballer.

“Everything is now going in right direction, but it’s going to take a while for us to function as we should.

"But hopefully we survive and then push on next season and aim for a top five spot. This season, though, it’s all about survival and developing a young squad.

“For me personally, it’s been a breakthrough year but my family: my mother father and brother have kept me positive, even when I was down (after being released by Stuttgart) by being normal and honest and it’s helped a lot.”

With the Socceroos not in action again until March for the final home Group B FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan, Degenek's next assignment with the green and gold will be January’s AFC Under-23 Championship in Doha.

16 nations have qualified, with the top three progressing to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Australia begin their campaign against United Arab Emirates on 14 January, before taking on Vietnam on 17 January. Their final group match is against Jordan three days later.

Degenek, who plays centre-back for the Olyroos, was part of Australia’s squad for the recent clashes against Qatar and Iran.

He missed the 3-1 loss to Qatar after coming in to camp late because of club commitments but played in the 1-1 draw against Iran.

"I think we did well, to be honest, but we just can’t score goals, which is proving a bit disturbing," Degenek said.

“Ideally, I am happier in midfield but I find it easier to play at centre-back because you have that extra awareness, and I feel bit more relaxed. But I will play wherever it takes for my country.

“We have a good side and just need to bond as team. I believe in the boys and the things we are doing ... getting to the Olympics would be a big thing. It would be unbelievable.

“We definitely have the team to get to Rio; players like Mustafa Amini, Adam Taggart, Terry Antonis (when he's fit again), Josh Brillante, Jackson Irvine and Chris Ikonomides. They are all good players.” 


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4 min read
Published 1 December 2015 at 6:06am
By David Lewis