Josh Brillante was named by Bert van Marwijk as one of the extended 32-man squad for the Socceroos’ FIFA World Cup squad. Brillante was named as a defender.
He must survive the culling that will take the Socceroos down to 23, however, since FIFA rules state that three of those 23 must be goalkeepers; Brillante is actually vying to be one of 20 players to be on ground for Australia when they face France in their first game in Kazan.
Brillante typically plays in midfield, but he thinks that being named as a defender is evidence that he possesses the necessary versatility that can only aid his selection chances.
“I see it as a great thing, to be a bit versatile, helps me with being able to get into the squad. Obviously been playing midfield, have played right back so if I can play either or I’ll be happy,” Brillante told Fox Sports News.
If he makes it to the final list, it will be his first foray into World Cup competition.
“To think that’s it’s just around the corner. A lot of emotions more excitement and happiness. But obviously want to keep working hard and make that final cut because it would be an amazing experience. Everyone will be training hard and fighting for their spot.”
Brillante is back in contention because the new coach, taking over for Ange Postecoglou and Brillante feels that the players are adapting nicely to the new methods van Marwijk brings to the equation.
The Socceroos are rated a distant chance to Les Bleues, but the game is just the sort where expectations of the unexpected are quite common.
The new coach is certainly shaking things up, with Brillante announced as a defender and the inclusion of Melbourne City’s Daniel Arzani.
Brillante has first-hand experience playing against Melbourne City’s Arzani in his A-League assignment with Sydney FC and expressed the opinion that the young Arzani could supply some excitement in attack.
Brillante’s case is certainly not impacted negatively by his solid play for Sydney and the fact that the club are the back-to-back A-League premiers.