Brisbane Roar defender Jade North has revealed he was surprised at regaining his Socceroos place so soon after returning to the A-League, and has paid credit to his club side
|By DANIEL COLASIMONE
Jade North says his call up to the Australia squad so soon after making the move back to the A-League comes as a surprise.
North was named in Holger Osieck's 23-man squad to take on Oman in the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier in Sydney on March 26.
The Brisbane Roar defender and 39-cap Socceroos veteran was physically exhausted at the end of his stint with Consadole Sapporo in the J-League, but says he has been revitalised since returning to Australia in January.
He was one of six locally-based players named in the squad.
"At the end of the day it was all about coming back, playing consistently and trying to find some form," North said.
"I missed a few games towards the end of the season last year because the body was overworked and I just needed a good rest with about five games to go.
"Then Brisbane gave me an offer, and it was something I couldn't refuse, and to work with the FFA with indigenous things as well.
"So it's great, to come back and get into the national team, it's all happened a bit sooner than I expected."
North was given time to regain his fitness before making his debut for the Roar, but since coming into the team has proved his worth with a string of strong performances at the back.
"I'm feeling good. I'm just building into training and I'm feeling great come game days," he said.
"It helps when you've got a great team in front of you, for the defensive duties anyway, it makes my job a lot easier, I just have to do a bit of tidying up at the back.
North said he was confident Brisbane side would not be too negatively affected by his call up.
"We've got a bit of momentum going, and we haven't changed the team too much, so it'll be a bit of a test.
"But I'm very confident with their ability, and the way Mike's [coach Mike Mulvey] got us playing at the moment has been fantastic, everyone's enthusiastic when we go out, and have got that fire in the belly now."
After a rough start to the qualifying campaign, North said the Socceroos had turned a corner, and home advantage in three of four of the remaining fixtures would aid their push.
"It's important for us now because we've got home games coming up and we've really got to take advantage of these home games, and I'm sure we will," he said.
"My experience with the Arab countries is they're very strong at home but they're not so good at travelling away from home so we've got to get right on top straight from the start."
Roar coach Mulvey said he was delighted for a deserving North, even though it may mean losing the player for crucial matches. Brisbane play Melbourne Heart on March 24 and Sydney FC on March 28.
"He's brought some composure to us at the back as well as organisation," Mulvey said.
"He's a damn good player, and that's why we went after him.
"You always like to see players who have got aspirations, and he's been there before, and there's a World Cup around the corner, so who knows.
"I'm really thrilled for him because it's vital that Australia qualify for the World Cup in 2014.
"Obviously it impacts us, but we'll deal with it."