Mitch Langerak has had a dominant start to his J-League career with Nagoya Grampus, but the player himself knows he has an extraordinarily tough battle ahead to wrestle the Socceroos No.1 goalkeeping jersey away from Mat Ryan before the World Cup.
Langerak has starred in Nagoya's winning start to their league campaign - earning best save in matchday one before being named in the J-League team of the week after their second victory.
The former Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper has been selected in Bert Van Marwijk's 29-man preliminary squad for the friendlies against Norway and Colombia later this month - Australia's only scheduled matches before heading to the World Cup.
But despite his quality form, the 29-year-old custodian faces an increasingly difficult battle to become Australian starting goalkeeper, with incumbent Ryan excelling in the English Premier League for Brighton and Hove Albion.
Since Mark Schwarzer's retirement in 2013, Langerak has only managed eight Socceroos caps to Ryan's 39, and he understands his competitor and teammate has earned the right to be between the sticks in Russia.
"Maty (Ryan) has done a fantastic job and he is playing in the Premier League. He’s definitely the No.1 and rightly so because he has deserved it," Langerak told Goal.
"We get on really within the team. We always talk to each other, bounce ideas off each other and always support each other – which is most important in the national team."
With only three goalkeepers selected for the World Cup, Langerak is facing challenges from Feyenoord's Brad Jones and Genk's Danny Vukovic for the two support positions behind Ryan.
He realises he needs to maintain his form at Nagoya to be on the plane to Russia and be any chance to represent Australia at a World Cup.
"It’s about focusing on myself. I’m very happy with my level over the last couple of years," he said.
"I want to do well here and let my performances do the talking for me.
"Hopefully I can continue keeping my level high and whenever I get the chance, I’m hoping to be ready for it."
Langerak will be keen to continue his strong start with Nagoya when his club travel to Shonan Bellmare on Sunday evening.