Caltex Socceroos midfielder Jackson Irvine has revealed representing his country at the FIFA World CupTM has been the ‘pinnacle’ of his career to date.
Speaking in an interview with his Championship side Hull City, Irvine said walking out with the Caltex Socceroos at Russia 2018TM was the culmination of a long journey.
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“The World Cup was hard to put into words really,” Irvine told hullcitytigers.com.
“It was pretty special but it was gone in a flash, unfortunately. The World Cup is the pinnacle of football, not just for yourself but for your family.
“To represent your country on the biggest stage, it doesn’t get more exciting than that!
“We came through a lot of difficulty along the way to qualify for the tournament. We came through the play-off games and the 20-game qualification process before that – it was a long hard slog.
“We played in a lot of games against a lot of top teams that featured a lot of different styles of football. It was all worth it though because representing my country on the biggest stage, knowing I’d played a part in helping the squad get there was such a rewarding experience.”
Irvine also revealed his desire to take the next step under Graham Arnold, eyeing off the next FIFA World CupTM in 2022.
“I won my 30th cap for my country at the tournament and I’m only 25 years of age,” he said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play in three major tournaments now and, as I say, I love every single minute of representing my country. It’s such a huge honour and something that gives me an awful lot of pride.
“Hopefully I’ll have a lot more involvement to come with the national side in the next few years. We’ve got a new cycle starting now in September with the next round of qualifiers for the next World Cup and I can’t wait for that to get going.
“The aim for me is to continue to perform well at club level in order to ensure I’ll be involved for my country over the next few years.”
The dynamic midfielder is doing just that at the moment, enjoying a strong season in the black and amber jersey with five goals.
Irvine said he was feeling more comfortable at the former Premier League club after making the move from Burton Albion in 2017.
“I feel as though I play a bigger role in the team now though,” he said.
“When you first come into a new club, sometimes you’re a little quieter and you don’t want to open your mouth too much. I feel as though I’ve earned the right to do that now.
“Having that responsibility is something I’ve always enjoyed, even from a young age, and I’m enjoying having more responsibility as a player here at Hull City and trying to use that to improve myself and get the best out of my team-mates.”