Milligan yearns for return to his prime position

Versatile Mark Milligan is keen to put his recent Socceroos utility role behind him and return to being a midfield mainstay for Tuesday week's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier with Thailand in Bangkok.

Mark Milligan

Mark Milligan in action for the Socceroos. Source: Getty Images

The 31-year-old has sampled a smorgasbord of Socceroos flavours in recent qualifiers - deployed as a stopper in the 2-0 win over Iraq, back to midfield for the 1-0 win in the UAE, right back for the 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia and then left on the bench for Australia's 1-1 deadlock with Japan.

While happy to play Jack-all-trades when required, Milligan - who is in camp in Thailand as one of the early arrivals - admitted: "It's a little bit tough at times being moved around."

"But the last couple of camps we've been a bit unfortunate with injuries (to Matt Spiranovic and Milos Degenek) and that makes it hard.

Advertisement
"Obviously, it's not ideal but I also appreciate being in the squad and being part of things.

"I will just keep working hard and pushing for a starting spot."

Acutely aware of his part in a wider squad fabric, Milligan said of his surprise absence against Japan: "You always want to play but the boss and his coaching staff take every game on its merits and that game called for that starting eleven.

"One of the beauties of this side is that everybody is ready when called upon to start and do their part.

"That's a credit to the Socceroos setup at the moment ... you go back maybe five years and if there was one injury then to a starting player and the team was probably in a bit of trouble.

"Now you have a lot players pushing to get in the side and that can only help us going forward."

With Australia almost at the halfway point on the trail to Russia 2018, Milligan feels they are in sound shape sitting second in Group B, two points adrift of the Saudis and a point clear of Japan.

But he rues the recent dropped points against the aforementioned duo in a mini-stumble for Ange Postecoglou's men.

"We'd have liked to have held on for three points in Saudi Arabia but we are still in a good position and know if our performances get better qualifying will take care of itself," he added.

"We'd also have liked a bit more from the Japan game but to have come behind to pick up a point against a team of their class is also no mean feat."


Share
Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
3 min read
Published 7 November 2016 at 10:11pm
By Dave Lewis
Source: SBS