Comeback Kruse primed to soar for Socceroos

EXCLUSIVE: A revitalised Robbie Kruse is ready to bring a new cutting edge to Australia’s attack as he prepares to return to the Socceroos fold for this month’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan.


Source: Getty Images

Sorely missed by the national team in the past 13 months, Kruse, who has 38 caps and last played for Australia in their AFC Asian Cup final win over Korea Republic, is bursting with anticipation at the prospect of showing fans what he can do again in the World Cup qualifying clashes in Adelaide and Sydney.

With his knack of getting in behind defences to set up teammates, and his calmness in front of goal, Kruse’s return could not be more timely as Australia seek to seal their passage through to the final phase of qualifying for Russia 2018.

Speaking from his base in Germany, Kruse said: “These are really important games coming up and I just want to be out there representing my country and pulling on that jersey again.

"I’ve missed being part of the team and being among the boys. There will be a few in the squad I haven’t met yet and I will be excited to come back in and hopefully show everybody I still have a big future in the national team.

"The national team has grown a lot and it’s going to be difficult. I just hope I can get a starting place again among some great players; bring my game and hopefully lift some those people around me as well."

While reluctant to trumpet his own praises, Kruse believes in his ability and knows what he can bring to a team which never fully compensated for his absence as he battled back from knee and Achilles injuries.

"I think I have showed my true colours in coming back and I feel like I have put it all behind me now," Kruse said.

"I certainly don't take the national team for granted in any way... and I just want to stay in the squad now and be part of things going forward.”

"Ange (Postecoglou) has opened up a pool of players and created a lot of depth in a lot of positions."

Having returned to parent club Bayer Leverkusen, after his loan spell at Stuttgart was curtailed last month, the 27-year old has accumulated 185 minutes in the Bundesliga side's last three games.

His stats in his last outing alone – 85 minutes in the weekend’s 3-3 draw with Augsburg - showed that the Kruse of old has returned.

"I was first on the ground in the sprints made, and the high speed metres and that’s all part of my game," he said.

"I am about making runs and getting in behind teams and taking people on. I am in my peak physical condition right now.

"I am really pleased to back at Leverkusen after a disappointing loan spell Stuttgart," said the former Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory and Fortuna Dusseldorf flier of the club he joined in 2013.

"The club knows me very well. I am more than happy and comfortable in my surroundings and I think that’s translating for me on the field.

"It’s looking positive for me and hopefully I can keep push on."

Kruse, who has a year remaining on his Leverkusen contract, doesn't pretend to know what the future might hold.

"If I do well then things will open up and different avenues will come," Kruse said.

"All I can do is keep working hard at training and every opportunity I get to play put my best foot forward.

"In the (northern) summer I will re-assess my options and go from there. It’s really important for me to be playing well and getting selected for the national team.

"The club has always had a lot of faith in, especially the manager (Roger Schmidt). They didn't want me to go on loan (in August) but with a few of the injuries I’d had, the decision was mine and I thought maybe it would be a good idea to go there and get game time.

"But I didn't really settle there too well, and I was happy the club wanted me back. It gave me a lot of confidence that they still believe in me.

"I think I have repaid them, I am training me well and they have given me a lot of minutes lately.

"We are in a difficult position (eighth on the ladder) but I just want to do all I can to help out as best I can."

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4 min read
Published 9 March 2016 at 7:14pm
By David Lewis