A rare chance to play in front of a vocal home crowd clad in green and gold is driving Brisbane Roar captain Matt McKay’s push for a starting spot in the Qantas Socceroos’ upcoming friendlies against New Zealand and Serbia.
McKay was selected in Holger Osieck-s strong 23-man for the June 5 and June 7 clashes – the team-s first matches back on home soil since their impressive AFC Asian Cup campaign in January, where they reached the final and narrowly lost to Japan.
Just four of McKay-s 14 national team caps have been played in Australia and the 28-year-old was relishing at the prospect of playing in front of parochial home crowds at both the Adelaide Oval and Etihad Stadium.
“I haven-t played many friendlies in Australia so it-ll be good to get out there in front of the home crowd and home support,” he said.
“We can show them what we achieved at the Asian Cup and that we-re still progressing as well.
“It looks like Holger is going to bring a full strength squad so it-s another good opportunity for me.
“We-ve only got three more friendlies until the qualifiers start so we-ll have to be ready, do our work and enjoy the camp.”
Two very different football teams, McKay was aware of the unique threats posed by both New Zealand and Serbia and said Australia would need to be at their best if they were to secure positive results from the games.
“New Zealand are a good side, they were the only team undefeated at the last World Cup so they-re progressing as a country football wise which is good to see,” he said.
“Serbia – we played them at the World Cup and got the result we needed but they-re a good side too and there will be a lot of support for them in Melbourne.
“So I-m looking forward to both of these two really big, challenging matches.”
The possibility of facing off against Brisbane Roar teammate Kosta Barbarouses in Australia-s first friendly in Adelaide was also high in McKay-s mind.
“If we-re both on the park, we-ll definitely do a swapsies of our shirts after the game,” he said.
“Kosta had a great season with us last season and he really deserves his spot in the national team so I-m really looking forward to that – hopefully we-ll even get to mark each other!”
Qantas Socceroos squad: Alex BROSQUE, Nathan COE (gk), Brett EMERTON, Adam FEDERICI (gk), Brett HOLMAN, Mile JEDINAK, Josh KENNEDY, Robbie KRUSE, Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), Jonathan McKAIN, Matthew McKAY, Mark MILLIGAN, Lucas NEILL, Sasa OGNENOVSKI, Matthew SPIRANOVIC, Archie THOMPSON, James TROISI, Carl VALERI, Dario VIDOSIC, Rhys WILLIAMS, Luke WILKSHIRE, Michael ZULLO.