Ajdin Hrustic using Olyroos starts as World Cup audition

Ajdin Hrustic, Australia, Australian A-League, FC Groningen, FIFA World Cup, Leagues, Story


The FC crew explain why Australia’s outlook at the World Cup is dreary after being drawn with France, Peru and Denmark.
Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts evaluate Australia’s World Cup group and assess whether they or any other Asian teams can progress.

Such are the vagaries of football, players in the Australian camp for the under-23 Asian Championships have a wide range of motivations.

Some are eager to wear the Olyroos shirt ahead of the 2020 Olympics — a highlight of any athlete’s career.

Older players, ineligible for Tokyo, might prefer to be at home with their A-League clubs.

Others are using the tournament to get precious match minutes to impress their club bosses.

And some are thinking bigger.

Ajdin Hrustic is one of the few in Ante Milicic’s squad with experience in the Socceroos set-up and he wants more.

“I’m in camp to get minutes to show myself with the new Socceroos coach coming in,” he told AAP.

The controversial selection policy for the tournament means a host of senior players have been taken out of the A-League.

Hrustic — who started in a 2-1 warm-up win over Thailand on Saturday — is happy to be there.

The 21-year-old, who shot into Ange Postecoglou’s national team plans off the back of form with Groningen in the Netherlands, has found club football hard to come by.

He has just a handful of starts in the Dutch league since making his debut for the Socceroos at the MCG against Brazil in June.

A poorly-timed red card saw the Melburnian lose his place before a four-week groin injury meant no more club football before the Dutch league’s winter break.

Given his poor end to 2017, Hrustic hopes the China-based tournament can kickstart his year with a World Cup looming.

Ajdin Hrustic
Ajdin Hrustic has found game time at FC Groningen hard to come by.

“I’m slowly getting fit again. I had eight days off for holidays and I worked every day and I’m back in full team training now,” he said.

“I’m going step by step. First I’m looking at this month, then I’m looking to club football and then to a World Cup.

“A World Cup is a World Cup, it’s a dream to play in one.

“Even pulling the green and gold on for the Olyroos means a lot to me.

“I’m really hungry to show myself and get the best out of myself.”

While the motivations of the squad might differ, Hrustic said the competitive and professional nature of the players in camp would ensure a united showing.

“I want to make a good impression here with Ante but I want the best for the team and Ante,” he said.

“We’re getting along great at the moment. Everyone is helping each other on and off the field. There’s a bond.”



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