Canberra product Jason Geria wants to learn as much as he can after being called-up for his first Socceroos World Cup qualifying camp.
The 22-year-old Melbourne Victory defender is one of three uncapped players in the group for upcoming matches against Tajikistan in Adelaide on March 24 and Jordan in Sydney on March 29.
Geria is also the second Canberra player in the Socceroos squad alongside Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic.
“I’m still sort of taking it in,” Geria told Fairfax Media.
“The call-up was a bit unexpected, but I’m just very happy he [Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou] has decided to pick me for this camp.
“I’m over the moon.”
Postecoglou followed up on his promise to blood young players and is keen to increase depth in every position.
Geria and Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon are the most likely candidates for the vacancy at right back, while Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg) will also be in the mix.
The selections have been made with one eye to the future, with Jason Davidson, Aziz Behich, Tarek Elrich and Ivan Franjic all left out of the squad.
“I know it will definitely be a step up from the Olyroos and the Young Socceroos, it will be a completely different thing,” Geria said.
“These two games are World Cup qualifiers, so this will be a very serious camp and will be hard work every day, so I know it will be a good indication of what there is to look forward to in the future.
“My main focus is to go there and work hard. If I get a run, I get a run, but if not, I’m happy to be amongst the group.”
Geria will be reunited with Postecoglou, who brought the Woden Valley junior to Victory after spotting him at the AIS.
“We’ve been tracking him for a long time,” Postecoglou said.
“The beauty of playing for a club like Melbourne Victory is you’re playing in big games in front of big crowds.
“I think he’s grown very much over the last 12 months.
“Right back is an area where I want to see what else we’ve got there and create more competition for places.”
Former Socceroos defender and fellow Canberra product Ned Zelic said Geria deserved his call-up to the national team.
“He’s been putting in some great performances and he’s a very energetic player who has improved on his distribution at the back,” Zelic said.
“That’s what I’ve enjoyed seeing about his game.
“I’m sure if he gets a run that Ange will be looking for him to play to his strengths and that’s the option of your fullback trying to get forward.”
Geria is one of several players selected out of the A-League in a glowing endorsement of the competition’s growing stature.
“It shows it doesn’t matter if you’re playing here or overseas, if you’re playing well in the A-League, you know [Postecoglou] is watching the games,” Geria said.
“And if he thinks you’re doing well enough, he’ll have no problem in calling players up.
“I think it’s definitely a testament to the league that it’s getting better.”
Geria’s immediate focus is helping the Victory reach the A-League finals.
Victory are fifth on the table with five games to go, but only three points ahead of seventh-placed Sydney FC ahead of Saturday night’s clash with Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
“It’s been a mixed season, we’ve had results go for us and go against us and a bit in between as well,” Geria said.
“These last five games are purely about getting three points at every opportunity.
“Hopefully we can finish as high up the table as possible.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.