Jackson Irvine surprised to be a 'goal threat' for club and country

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The long-haired midfielder made his name screening the back four in Scotland but is loving life further up the pitch over the past 12 months

Jackson Irvine is relishing his transformation into a goal-scoring midfielder over the past season and hopes to continue as an attacking threat for the Socceroos after notching his first goal in March.

While Aaron Mooy was the Australian midfielder grabbing all the headlines in the Championship this term as he helped Huddersfield Town earn promotion to the Premier League, Irvine was equally impressive in his first campaign in England's second tier.

The 24-year-old moved to Burton Albion in July with the club having just celebrated successive promotions and their third in eight years.

Having previously made his name as a defensive midfielder with Ross County in the Scottish Premiership, Irvine scored 10 goals to win Burton's Golden Boot and be crowned the club's Player of the Year.

Mooy: Huddersfield had fairytale year

Burton finished 20th, two spots above the relegation zone, to secure a second consecutive Championship season "against the odds", according to Irvine.

"They tweaked my position in that way to push me a little more advanced and I never really saw myself as much of a goal threat," he told reporters ahead of Australia's World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Jackson Irvine Burton Albion v Derby County Championship 26082016

"I didn't see that as being my main contribution to the team but it turned out that way."

That change in role has continued under Australia coach Ange Postecoglou, with Irvine having started the Socceroos two World Cup qualifiers in March as an attacking midfielder in the new 3-4-3 formation.

Jackson Irvine delighted with first Socceroos goal

Irvine was one of Australia's liveliest players against Iraq and United Arab Emirates, with the long-haired midfielder scoring his maiden international goal with a thumping header in the latter match.

Jackson Irvine Australia v United Arab Emirates World Cup qualifying 28032017

"Probably should have had another couple if I'd managed to find the corner with a couple more headers but it's absolutely - every time I get out there - that's my main threat, to get in the box and try and score goals, but also get in those holes and play between the thirds and try and be a threat creatively as well," he said.

Winning two awards at Burton has given Irvine "all sorts of confidence" heading into a busy month with the Socceroos, and he paid tribute to his road-less-travelled career path for helping him catch Postecoglou's eye.

Irvine, Leckie help Socceroos down UAE

"I think a lot of people saw [joining Burton] as a bit of a gamble, as much as my move to Ross County before that - people probably saw it in that way as well," Irvine said.

"Probably not the most glamorous moves and clubs that people haven't heard a lot about but these clubs have done absolute wonders for me, and they've definitely pushed my career forward so much and playing regularly games - I think I've played 100 games in two seasons now - and that's been so vital for my development."

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