The Austria Vienna midfielder is one of a clutch of youngsters looking to earn a place in Holger Osieck's starting XI, ahead of Tuesday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Iraq
|By SACHA PISANI
Socceroos midfielder James Holland is determined to lead a new generation of Australian players and has called on the younger brigade to stake their claims for a starting role.
After making his full international debut for the Socceroos in their friendly against Singapore in 2008, Holland has earned six caps for the national team.
While it has not always gone smoothly for the former Newcastle Jets product at club level, the 23-year-old is now enjoying a consistent run of football at Austria Wien.
Holland's move to the Austrian Bundesliga led to his first Socceroos call-up since March ahead of September's World Cup qualifier against Jordan.
And with Holger Osieck's men still searching for their first win in the final phase of qualifying, many fans and pundits have criticised the team's lack of youth.
But Holland has been named in a squad alongside Robbie Kruse, Ryan McGowan, Tommy Oar, Nikita Rukavytsya, Adam Sarota, Matthew Spiranovic and Mitchell Langerak to face Iraq in Doha on Tuesday [Wednesday morning Australian time], and the midfielder wants the new group of players to live up to their potential and prove their worth to Osieck.
"For us it's just important to show the coach we are here and we are ready," he said.
"And we can only do that by training well and showing him we are confident enough.
"It's important for us to show that every day on the training field and whether the boss decides to give us a chance or not, that's up to him and we just have to be ready."
Holland is also banking on spirit to help get the Socceroos across the line at Al Arabi Stadium.
"Obviously we've proven in the past that we've got that resolve and that strong mentality," Holland said.
"And I suppose that's Australian but that's also within this group. We've got a lot of good boys and a lot of leaders.
"The camaraderie is there and we've all got confidence in ourselves and the team that we will bounce back from here and prove we are team that can contest."
Sarota is another player keen to play regular football at international level but he does not expect to walk into the team, despite a bright start to the Eredivisie season with team-mate Oar at FC Utrecht.
"I've just got to train well here like I have in Utrecht and if I do get a chance, hopefully I do well," the 23-year-old said.
"But I'm not putting too much pressure on myself to come to the Socceroos camp and all of a sudden start playing.
"I mean I'd love to but at the end of the day it's up to Holger and I've got to respect his decision."