The Socceroos’ 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia preparations officially began on the weekend, with 13 players from Bert van Marwijk’s 26-player squad being put through their paces in warm conditions on the outskirts of Antalya.
Over the coming days the intensity of training will only increase as players push for selection in van Marwijk’s final 23-player squad for Australia’s fourth successive World Cup finals campaign.
Among the young hopefuls is Sydney FC midfielder, Josh Brillante, a frequent visitor to TWT territory for the Sky Blues’ training sessions in Macquarie Park.
Brillante admits it’s tough knowing he could be one of the players that misses out, but at the same time, he had to enjoy himself and work as hard as he could.
“If Bert thinks I deserve a spot, then I deserve a spot,” he said.
“There is always time in the future where I can show myself, I’ve got the Asian Cup coming up and the next World Cup, but I have to enjoy myself, that is the main thing.”
It’s Brillante’s second call up to a van Marwijk Socceroos squad and the midfielder hopes to impress the Dutchman after being part of the two-game friendly series against Norway and Colombia in March.
“We had a new Socceroos coach come in and he obviously has his systems and the players he likes,” he said.
“We were all waiting to see what was going to happen and who he was going to pick so I was honoured to be part of that.
“It was great to be part of the team again and be involved with the Socceroos and all the players.
“It’s going to be exciting to be in camp and I’m looking forward to cementing my spot in the team that will be at the World Cup.”
The second day of camp saw van Marwijk’s men complete a double-session as the training group expanded to 19, with the squad making the most of the impressive Gloria Sports Arena facilities with a gym session at the venue.
Later in the day Australia returned to the training track as van Marwijk put several new arrivals including Aaron Mooy, Mark Milligan, Trent Sainsbury, and Fran Karacic through their paces.