Irvine eyes Socceroos recall after making waves at Ross County

After taking out the Scottish Premiership’s player of the month award for March, Australia midfielder Jackson Irvine is ready to push his case for a national team recall after squaring up against Socceroos star Tom Rogic at the weekend.


Source: AAP

Back after a four-weeks out with an ankle injury, the influential midfielder is looking to add to his two caps for his country and is hoping to do enough in Ross County’s final four games of the season to land a call for next month’s glamour international against England at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

While friend and former Hoops teammate Rogic has stolen plenty of headlines this season with a show reel of spectacular goals, Irvine has been the quiet achiever despite 37 appearances in all competitions and a man of the match performance in Ross County's Scottish League Cup win over Hibernian.

His accolade for March speaks volumes, with Irvine taking it in his stride as his career trajectory points ever upwards.

Talking before his side held Rogic’s title-bound Celtic to a 1-1 draw, Irvine said: “Winning that award was a nice little prize, it was want something I wasn't expecting at all.

“I think it was bit of a reward for my consistency throughout the season and also there was the League Cup final during that period and I did quite well in that one (the 2-1 win over Hibs).

“The biggest thing for me now I am back is to finish the season strongly and hopefully clinch a tip six finish.”

There is also the matter of possibly landing a berth in the squad to tackle England, a match which would have extra meaning for Irvine, who last featured for Australia last year against Bangladesh in Perth.

“I would love to be involved in that one and I have big hopes of playing my way into that squa," he said.

“The fact it's part of England's preparation for the Euros means they will have their stongest team on the park and will be going for it.

“Whoever is lucky enough to go out and face them that night, it’s going to be pretty special.”

Irvine knows that winning over Ange Postecoglou is a big ask with the likes of skipper Mile jedinak and Mark Milligan ahead of him and Terry Antonis and Aston Villa’s Jordan Lyden also thumping on the door.

“There are a lot of top midfielders putting their hand up and I recognise it’s not an easy thing to get in and claim that No.6 position,” he said. “There’s a lot of experience ahead of me, but hopefully my time will come.

“It’s not just a matter of stepping in and that’s you in the squad … there will be times when you are in and times when you are not. But I am prepared to do whatever is needed.

“For me, it all about patience. You don’t just snap your fingers and command a place in one of Ange’s squads. Far from it.

It’s been a breakout season for the 23 year-old, who has attracted the interest of a number of Championship clubs and with one year left on his Ross County contract could possibly move in the northern summer.

“It’s been by far my best season,” he said. “Obviously I didn’t get to break through at Celtic and I had difficult time when I went to Kilmarnock on loan.

"I was chopping and changing position every other week from right back to centre back, and the wide areas.

“I couldn’t claim that position in the midfield. Then last year at Ross County it was pretty much a relegation battle all along until we had an amazing run at the end the year. But it wasn’t until the second last game that we secured our safety.

“So, to go from that, to sitting fourth in the league for the majority of the season and to win a trophy is just a massive contrast to the last couple of years. I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone.”

Irvine isn’t casting too far ahead in assessing where he might be next season.

“I am still contacted for another year and I will be back in the summer fully prepared for that. If something was to develop we'd assess that when the time comes. I am open to all possibilities and opportunities.”

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4 min read
Published 26 April 2016 at 4:44pm
By Dave Lewis