Socceroo Ivan Franjic not feeling overawed

Coming into a national team squad for a player who has been capped almost 80 times might be daunting to some but the Brisbane Roar stalwart is relishing the challenge.
Ivan Franjic insists he isn’t feeling any pressure heading into the Socceroos game against Costa Rica despite being brought in as a replacement for national team veteran Luke Wilkshire.

The Brisbane Roar utility was preferred to Wilkshire in Ange Postecoglou’s first Socceroos squad and is in line to make just his sixth appearance at international level.

Franjic, who spent a successful three years under Postecoglou at the Roar, says he has complete faith in his ability and is determined to make the most of the opportunity he has been given by his former club boss.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for me and I really need to step up and take it while I get this opportunity becuase it might only come around once,” he said.

“So hopefully come (next) Tuesday I get some game time and I can show him what I can do.”

Postecoglou has confirmed he wants to use Franjic as a right-back rather than as a midfielder, a position he has occupied increasingly at the Roar.

The 26-year-old admitted he prefers playing in a more defensive role and is excited by the prospect of being selected in his natural position, one he knows he can play under Postecoglou.

“That’s where I’ve played with him at Brisbane and that’s where he’s known me over the last few years,” he said.

“He’s known my capabilities as a player and what I can  do so I’m more than happy to go back there.”

Franjic also said the introduction of Postecoglou has brought a new motivation to the squad with everyone keen to show the new boss what they can do.

“It’s a new coach, like you said its a fresh start for every player and every player has to show himself again which is very important.

“We’ve got great quality players in Australia now and its time to transfer to the field.”

Meanwhile, fellow Roar and Socceroo squad member Matt McKay insists the team will not suffer from a lack of experience in next week’s game against Costa Rica despite the fact several estbalished players have been left out of the squad.

“Ange has come in and made a few changes but the core of the squads there, and the belief will still be there and we’ve got to work,” McKay said.

“We’re all starting to get it, and we know our expectation is to do well at the World Cup and the preparation starts in this camp.

“It’s a good week to prepare for Costa Rica, and we’ll work on these things and make sure we approach that game and the rest of the camp with the right attitude and you know achieve the best results in Brazil.”

The 30-year-old, who led the Roar to their first ever A-League premiership in 2011, refused to be drawn on speculation about the seemingly vacant captaincy position in the Socceroos despite Postecoglou not making any assurances Lucas Neil will be wearing the armband in the future.

“That’s a question for the boss,” he said.

“I think its important, obviously you’re going to have a captain but its important that everyone starts to grow as a team and collective.”