Antonis hoping for a taste of the action in World Cup qualifiers

Terry Antonis was a spectator as Australia soared to AFC Asian Cup glory 13 months ago – now he is back in the squad for the first time since then aiming to prove he is more than worthy of match minutes as the Socceroos seek to move a step closer to Russia 2018.

Terry Antonis Australia Socceroos

Socceroos midfielder Terry Antonis Source: AAP



The Olyroos midfielder wants to parlay his recent breakthrough into the starting line-up at Greek powerhouse PAOK into a breakthrough for his country in this month's FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan.

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With the Group B defining duel against second-placed Jordan at his old Allianz Stadium stomping ground, the 22-year-old former Sydney FC starlet has an added incentive to convince coach Ange Postecoglou into playing him.

Asked if he felt he needed to prove himself, Antonis, who has three senior caps, replied: "Every single player has to do that. It's not a walk in the park, nothing is.

"There is always somebody challenging you and in every training session you have to prove yourself. If you don’t do that you are just going through the motions.

"For me, it’s just an honour to be involved again and I am thankful for that.

"The last time was at the Asian Cup and while I didn't get any minutes then it was massive tournament and I was just proud to be a part of it.

"I just want to get a taste now. Like everybody else, you want to play but that’s down to Ange."

With Australia to face Jordan on 29 March in Moore Park at the stadium where he lit up so many games with his energy and innovation, Antonis added: "It will be great being back on home soil and hopefully playing in Allianz Stadium again ... that would be a great feeling for me.

"This Socceroos call up is an amazing feeling ... every kid dreams of playing for the national team and being out of the squad for a while I am really excited and just can’t wait to work under Ange again."

After early-season hamstring issues after his $500,000 move from the Sky Blues, Antonis has started two of PAOK’s last three league games, coming off the bench in the other.

He is beginning to adjust to the demands and pressures of the super-charged Greek Super League.

But all is not tranquil at his club with Croatian coach Igor Tudor dismissed during the week after a run of results which has left them in fourth spot and a massive 29 points off the top.

He has been replaced by interim coach Vladimir Ivic, formerly in charge of the youth team.

For Antonis, it will be business as usual though as he bids to build on his recent successes.

"I am just feeling really good to be playing ... over the moon with it," he said.

"PAOK are a big club and it’s always difficult to break in as a young player and a foreigner coming in. I’ve worked hard been patient and waited for the chance.

"The new coach has taken over and I am not sure what he thinks of me, but I will just keep working hard.

"Of course there a lot of pressure on him and I am not sure what changes there might be.

"I've played three straight games now (five in all this season) and that’s great, especially after not playing pretty much for six months or so.

"I am just getting my rhythm back again and the best is still to come. Maybe you will see that after eight or nine games.

"You need to get used to the game speed and also the demands and tempo of football compared to the A-League.

"It’s a very tactical league ... and also very physical as well."


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4 min read
Published 12 March 2016 at 1:45pm
By David Lewis