Irvine pushing for greater Socceroos role
Photo Source: EPA
Jackson Irvine is hopeful his flexibility and form will eventually leave Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou with no choice but to find him an increased role in the team's stacked midfield.
Irvine played five minutes off the bench in Australia's 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia on Thursday and is pushing for more in Tuesday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Japan in Melbourne.
However, the 23-year-old is fully aware of the competition he faces for a starting position.
Irvine would need to unseat skipper Mile Jedinak or the reliable Mark Milligan to get a start in defensive midfield, while the 'big three' of Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Massimo Luongo are ahead of him in the pecking order for a more advanced role.
But Irvine's case is compelling, having scored five goals in 10 games for Burton Albion since becoming the biggest signing in the Championship's smallest club's history for a fee of around STG500,000
"To try and cement down a position in this team is hard enough for them guys competing amongst each other," Irvine told AAP.
"It's just so great to be a part of it, but I want to push.
"Scoring goals and stuff is not always enough, you need to keep going and keep pushing and you hope that will eventually lead to a chance.
"I just want to play a part in that squad, whatever that may be, whether it's from a start, the bench or just being one of the players that contributes at training."
Jedinak wasn't at his best for Australia in the pulsating draw in Jeddah but the captain's armband gives him enough security to ensure he won't be losing his spot just yet.
But if his club form for Aston Villa drops away and 12-cap midfielder Irvine keeps it up, things could change very quickly.
"I'm really fortunate my club form's going so well at the moment," he said.
"Playing against some pretty experienced and high-class opposition, everything's been going really well for me.
"I've been playing a different role which allows me to get forward a bit more and thankfully that's led to me contributing with some goals.
"No matter what the fee was, however small, to be first player a club's really spent a fair bit of money on comes with its pressure but also a confidence it brings you."