Jackson Irvine: Why the Socceroos are confident heading into the World Cup

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Jackson Irivine Josh Brillante Socceroos 2018
Australia might be up against the odss in Russia, but they do have one real advantage up their sleeve

Though it will make his pursuit of game time in Russia considerably harder, Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine admits the Socceroos depth in the middle of the park can give them the confidence leading into the World Cup.

Drawn in a group against France, Denmark and Peru, Australia are at long odds to escape it but do boast a midfield capable of challenging the best.

With Aaron Mooy fresh off a strong first season in the Premier League with Huddersfield, Tom Rogic picking up more silverware with Celtic and Mile Jedinak on the verge of leading Aston Villa back to England's top flight -  the Socceroos midfield is littered with talent.

Add to that mix Championship duo Massimo Luongo and Irvine, and Australia's depth in the middle stands to be a real asset in Russia.

With three players still to be cut from Bert van Marwijk's provisional 26-man squad, Hull City's Irvine has hailed the Socceroos midfield strength despite the extra competition he faces as a result. 

"We’ve got a lot of depth in that area of the pitch," Irvine told Socceroos.com.au.

"A lot of us are playing overseas. It’s got to give you great confidence.

"It’s obviously something we’re going to have to utilise as best we can.

"It’s great to see and we’ve got some extremely talented players all across the pitch, but as you say our midfield area is somewhere we’ve always had quite a lot of depth."

Jackson Irvine Henry Figueroa Honduras Australia World Cup play-off

Though a genuine asset, Australia's midfield stocks may well be whittled down come June 3 with three players needing to be shed for the current crop training at a camp in Turkey. 

"We’re all still aware that unfortunately there are three players that won’t make it past this point of the campaign," Irvine said. 

"It’s unusual to be part of the Socceroos set-up and be training as hard as we are because when we come in normally it’s about getting a couple of days together and building into a game.

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"But with an extended period like this we can really start to train a bit harder and push ourselves a bit further, and I am sure it is only going to get tougher over the coming weeks."

The Socceroos first on-field test will come against the Czech Republic on June 1 in Austria with another friendly against Hungary on June 10. 

During the World Cup, Australia will open their campaign against France on June 16 before facing Denmark on June 21 and Peru on June 27.