Degenek tips Socceroos to hit new heights

Breakthrough Australia defender Milos Degenek insists “there’s no limit” to what the Socceroos can achieve under Ange Postecoglou as the road to Russia 2018 unfurls.


Milos Degenek (L) celebrates with Socceroos team mate Tomi Juric Source: Getty Images

With Australia due to face the blast furnace of Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in their World Cup qualifier against United Arab Emirates on Wednesday morning (1.30am AEST), the four-cap Germany-based defender has been blown away by the quality in his midst.

Impressive in an unfamiliar right-back role for last Thursday’s 2-0 win over Iraq in Perth, Degenek sees no impediment to a coming-of-age team scaling dizzying heights in the years to come.


“It’s a young team but with the experienced players Mile (Jedinak) and Millsy (Mark Milligan) pushing us on and motivating the younger players, I see no limit to the potential of this team, so long as we do as we are told and carry out the plans placed before us,” said the 1860 Munich utility.

“I think there will be a few surprised people in the world of football over the next few years.

"I think we can do some things which nobody believes we can do.

“We have so much quality across the team. Look at the midfield where you have players like Tommy Rogic, Mass (Luongo) and Aaron Mooy, in addition to Mile and Millsy.

"Then there's Krusey (Robbie Kruse) and (Mathew) Leckie, I can only offer words of praise to these players.

“At the back Trent (Sainsbury) and Milly (against Iraq), and Brad Smith. It’s a great team and when you add Juric too it gets even better.

"They are unbelievable ... very, very talented. Being among these sorts of players makes me step up my game."

Usually deployed as a centre-back or deep lying midfielder by his club and a stopper during his time with the Olyroos, Degenek looked a natural at right-back against Iraq.

“It’s a new position but I enjoyed it … it was really fun to play my first qualifier, a really good feeling.

“I will keep doing my best, trying to impress and pay back he boss back for believing in me.

“Ange's faith has given me a lot of confidence and it’s also helping me a lot with my club football as well."

Degenek harbours no fears against UAE but admits they will buoyant after shocking Japan 2-1 and he concedes that an expected temperature of around 35 degrees at kick-off time will be like stepping into a pizza oven.

“It’s going to be a really tough game, especially playing them at home after they have come off that great win against Japan," he said.

“That was a great result, but we have started well also. Of course the heat will be factor but we aren’t looking for any excuses.

“It will be the same for both teams and we are just looking to get the job done and get three points so we have six in the bag after two games"

Degenek drew praise from Postecoglou for his composed performance, with the Socceroos coach saying: "We have still got a very young team, look at both of our full backs, they are young guys beginning international careers and we are asking them to do some pretty big jobs and they are handling it pretty well.

"I thought Milos did really well in the Greece series and he has started his season very strongly in Germany.

"I think he is a real find for us because there was a chance we might have lost him to another country.

"He and Smith to be honest, and it are great to see them playing for Australia and hopefully they have got long careers ahead of them."

Degenek added: "I was a bit surprised to start against Iraq, and so happy to get the nod.

"It was intense but I was pleased to play the 90 minutes and contribute my bit to the win."


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4 min read
Published 5 September 2016 at 11:52pm
By Dave Lewis