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Mitchell Duke set to make Socceroos impact after five years in the wilderness

07:03 GMT+3 05/09/2018
Mitch Duke
The utility is ready to don the green and gold shirt after a half decade absence

When Mitchell Duke last played for the Socceroos, Tony Abbott was days away from assuming the Australian prime minister role from Kevin Rudd, Daniel Arzani was 14 years old and Manchester United had won their last Premier League title only a few months earlier.

Holger Osieck handed Duke his fourth and most recent green and gold cap in September 2013 with a late subsitute appearance off the bench as Australia were pummelled 6-0 by Brazil in Brasilia.

The former Central Coast Mariner replaced Josh Kennedy up front for the final 12 minutes in a Socceroos team that also fielded Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neil, Tommy Oar and Archie Thompson.

Now five years later, with his former Mariners manager Graham Arnold now in charge of the green and gold, Duke is ready to make an impact on the national scene after being selected in the Socceroos camp squad currently in Antalya, Turkey.

"Yeah it has been a long time - five years is a very long time. I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard the news of [my Socceroos call-up]," Duke told FFA TV.

"Just to be back involved with the national team - I feel like there is no greater honour than representing your national team.

"There is a lot of new faces obviously since that five-year period. I'm excited, ready to join the boys again and be involved."

The 27-year-old, who broke on to the scene with the Mariners in 2012, has spent the last three-and-a-half-years playing regularly with J-League side Shimizu S-Pulse, but failed to get an opportunity for the Socceroos under previous managers Ange Postecoglou and Bert van Marwijk.

Duke's strong relationship with the new Australian boss Arnold has led to getting another chance at international level and he is confident his old coach can help produce his best form.

"[Arnold and I] obviously experienced a lot of success during that period at the Mariners. I definitely had one of my best seasons career-wise under him as well," he said.

"I believe he does know how to get the best out of me and I was very excited, not just about the national team camp, but obviously Graham Arnold being the boss and just working with him and knowing he can get the best out of me."

Duke has now spent more of his professional football life in Japan than Australia and feels his career will reach it's highest point in the next few seasons after his development in the J-League.

He attributes his improvement in technique to the quality of the Japanese league and believes his promotion and relegation experiences with Shimuzu have made him mentally stronger.

"I think I have developed quite a lot. I think I was still quite raw in the A-League," Duke said.

"The J-League is a quite technical league so you have got to kind of pick up your game in that side of things as well. [I have improved] also mentally with the relegation and promotion - and experiencing the change of four coaches during my period [at Shimuzu].

"Professionally I have played longer in the J-League than I have in the A-League now. I have definitely learned a lot and feel like I'm growing every year.

"I feel like I'm at the best time of my career and the next few years are going to be my peak."