‘We’re ready to get going’: Mark Milligan calls for a winning start from the Caltex Socceroos

The moment has arrived, and Caltex Socceroos skipper Mark Milligan is confident that Australia can get its AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ campaign off to a successful start against Jordan on Sunday (10:00pm AEDT).  

“We respect Jordan and we’re aware of what they can produce, but the main focus is on us and what we do,” the 33-year-old told a press conference ahead of the team’s opening clash. 

“We know that if we prepare well, and we execute well, then we have a very good chance of winning the match. We know it’s very important to start the tournament well.”

Featured image credit: Asian Football Confederation

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Mark Milligan press conference pre-Jordan match
Credit: Asian Football Confederation

The 33-year-old Milligan is likely to lead the Socceroos into battle in the United Arab Emirates, becoming in the process the fifth man to captain the country into major tournament action after Mile Jedinak, Lucas Neill, Mark Viduka and the 1974 FIFA World Cup skipper Peter Wilson. 

“Everybody has been working very hard over the last 11, 12 days, preparing for this game.”

Now playing his club football for Scottish top-flight side Hibernian, Milligan has previously enjoyed spells with United Arab Emirates club Baniyas and Saudi Arabian side Al Ahli, and is looking forward to playing back in the Middle East. 

“It’s an honour to be back here and to be playing in such a big tournament in a country where I spent a very enjoyable few years,” he said. 

Mark Milligan discusses the Socceroos' focus on attack under Graham Arnold

“I’ve been fortunate to play over here before and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve been able to help the team get an understanding of the weather and things like that. 

“But the team has played enough through the Middle East to know the conditions and what to expect.

“We’re ready to get going and I think we’ll be able to show in this tournament how hard we’ve been working over the last few months and how well everybody has taken to the way Arnie wants us to do things.”