Tomi Juric was a surprise inclusion in Holger Osieck's Socceroos training camp but is keen to make the most of his opportunity.
With the Socceroos securing qualification for next year-s World Cup it was always likely that Holger Osieck-s squad for the EAFF East Asia Cup was set to feature a large contingent of A-League players.
While this turned out to be right on the mark, the squad still managed to throw up some surprises with one of the most intriguing being the inclusion of recently signed Western Sydney Wanderer 22-year-old Tomi Juric.
Virtually unknown to most of the Australian football community before returning from Croatia earlier this year, Juric made the most of his seven appearance on the pitch with Adelaide United to earn his call-up to the Socceroos camp on the NSW Central Coast.
“This is my first Australian camp so it was definitely a bit of a shock when I heard I was heading up to be part of the squad,” said Juric.
“It is definitely exciting and I am aiming to put my best on show for the coaching staff to see.”
Having spent five seasons playing in Croatia, most recently for 1st Division side NK Inter Zapresi, Juric returned to Australia in 2013 to play with the Reds where he scored two goals in his short stint with his first A-League club.
“Returning to the A-League last year definitely improved my chances to make the national side.
“With the national coaches always watching, the A-League became a stage for me and going forward the competition seems very promising.
“I am now hoping to grab one of the spots in the team for the (EAFF) East Asia Cup and then look to get some game time if I make the final team.”
Now amongst the Socceroos squad Juric knows he has to take his game to new heights to prove to Osieck he is ready to gain his first cap at any level for Australia.
“I think training in this environment alongside the likes of current Socceroos Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan pushes you to another level.
“You really have to step it up to match it with the players within the squad. I have no doubt that this camp will help me to improve which is something that every young footballer like myself hopes for.”
The young gun admits he was just as excited as the players on the pitch when Australia confirmed their spot at the FIFA 2014 World Cup after recently defeating Iran in their final qualification match.
“When I saw Kennedy put that header away to send Australia to Brazil next year it was amazing.
“It motivates you even more to push yourself and put yourself in the hunt for a spot in the Socceroos side. It is every footballer-s dream to make it to a World Cup.”
The current camp runs throughout this week and is one of three camps in the lead up to the EAFF East Asia Cup to be held 20-28 July 2013.