Graham Arnold made James Jeggo’s long-awaited Caltex Socceroos dream a reality last November. Now the 27-year-old midfielder wants to earn himself a permanent place in the national team.
Jeggo had long been hovering on the fringes of the Green and Gold prior to his debut for Australia in last November’s 3-0 win over Lebanon in Sydney.
But the Vienna-born midfielder – who plies his trade in the city of his birth for Austrian Bundesliga club Austria Wien – is ready to make a lasting impression in Friday’s international friendly with Korea Republic.
However, he is quick to point out that he is not the only one determined to seize his chance should it arrive against the Taeguk Warriors in Busan.
“Everyone senses there’s an opportunity there to go out and impress and prove a point, and for myself it’s no different,” Jeggo told www.socceroos.com.au.
“It’s come to the fore in training where it’s been really intense and at a really good level.
“I’ve not had much game time with the Socceroos and it’s obviously something you’re always pushing for and striving for and hopefully against Korea Republic I’ll get a chance.”
Jeggo earned his first Caltex Socceroos call-up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Japan in November 2016, on the back of his NAB Young Footballer of the Year-winning season with Adelaide United in 2014/15.
That saw Jeggo rewarded with a move to Austrian outfit Sturm Graz, with whom he would lift the Austrian Cup in 2018.
The former Green Gully and Melbourne Victory youth has since joined Austria Wien and recently helped the club qualify for next season’s UEFA Europa League – showing the kind of form which made him a prime candidate to replace injured star Aaron Mooy in Australia’s 2019 AFC Asian Cup campaign.
And after familiarising himself further with Arnold's system during Caltex Socceroos camp in Busan, he says he's relishing the chance to put himself in the head coach's future plans with a strong hit-out against Korea Republic.
“I’ve got a better idea [now] of what he likes to do and how he likes things to be done,” Jeggo said.
“But at the same time, you always learn something new and he’s always adding more on top to what we want to do.
Especially for a midfielder it’s a really enjoyable system to play. You get on the ball a lot, there’s a lot of work to be done and you’re a key part of how the team works.
“We’re looking to go out there and put on a really good performance.”
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