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From Asian Cup hero to Socceroos exile: James Troisi faces battle against time to make Australia's title defence

12:41 pm AEDT 16/11/18
James Troisi Australia Asian Cup final 310115
The Melbourne Victory man was an integral part of the one of the green and gold's greatest moments, now he is on the outer with time running out

"GOAL for Australia - James Troisi - can that win the Asian Cup?" Simon Hill screamed as Socceroos' new hero scored what would prove to be the winning goal in extra time during the 2015 Asian Cup final against South Korea in Sydney.

It was the moment Australia won their first ever major international trophy, assuming you don't count the four Oceania Nations Cup triumphs.

You could see Troisi's career taking off from this point, with the attacking midfielder in his prime at 26 years old, having just come off a 12-goal season with Melbourne Victory, a move to Zulte Waregem in Belgium's first division and still being on the books of Serie A giants Juventus.

Fast forward almost four years, and as the Socceroos prepare to take on South Korea for the first time since that famous night at ANZ Stadium, Troisi is not a part of the squad or even the train-on additions as January's Asian Cup in the UAE draws closer.

Australia's friendlies against South Korea and Lebanon are the team's final two scheduled matches before the Middle Eastern-based tournament - meaning Troisi is going to need an incredible run of form in the A-League during the next six weeks to get a look in.

It must also be considered that Graham Arnold named attackers Dimi Petratos and Craig Goodwin in the train-on squad for the upcoming matches, and with the impending introduction of Scotland-born Martin Boyle into the team, Troisi is completely on the outer with the national team currently.

Funnily enough, Troisi has been in top form for Melbourne Victory in their first four A-League games, but it appears to be too little, too late for the 30-year-old.

But where did it all go wrong after his moment of Asian Cup glory?

Despite a fairly successful campaign with Zulte Waregem in 2014-15, scoring five goals and laying on five assists in the league, Troisi was not purchased by the Belgians and was forced to look for a new club.

After signing on loan with Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad, Troisi only made eight appearances before he terminated the contract because of the club's failure to pay his wage and he was sent back to Juventus, who promptly decided to cut ties and allow him to join Chinese Super League club Liaoning Whowin on permanent deal.

But after only six months in China and three league outings, Troisi had his contract terminated - ironically so Liaoning could sign compatriot Dario Vidosic.

This meant Troisi only made 11 league appearances during the entire 2015-16 season - a significant lull during what is supposed to be the prime of his career.

A move back to Melbourne Victory allowed the South Australian-born attacker a chance to get some time, and he is now in his third consecutive season at the A-League club.

Troisi has scored nine A-League goals in 51 appearances since he returned to the club, but this form line is far from the 12 strikes in 29 matches in his first spell in Melbourne back in 2013-14.

Despite Victory winning the championship last season, Troisi had a poor campaign - although he lifted significantly when it mattered in the latter stages of the season, scoring the goal to make it 2-1 in the famous semi-final victory over Sydney FC.

This season Troisi is relishing playing in a different role for Victory, with marquee Keisuke Honda taking over a significant portion of the creative duties.

He has flourished playing in a deeper role, scoring his first goal for the season against Central Coast last weekend, and also noticeably lifting his defensive work rate.

Unfortunately, with the Socceroos first Asian Cup game against Jordan only 51 days away, this resurgence in form is likely to come too late with Troisi appearing to be back in a pecking order for selection.

You could argue Troisi definitely adds more value to the squad than current listed members such as James Jeggo and Mustafa Amini - this can be backed up by the wonderful goal he scored for the green and gold against Chile in the Confederations Cup last year.

But it appears he is paying dearly for his lean form over the past couple of seasons and the fact that he'll turn 34 during this next World Cup means it might soon be curtains for his international career.