15/04/2024

Jackson Irvine at St. Pauli Credit: Socceroos.com

With the Socceroos' must-win games in June on the horizon, who is putting their name up for selection this week for the crunch encounters

Jackson Irvine put his name back into the Socceroos mix after another solid performance for St. Pauli, despite his side falling to a late equaliser. 

Let’s look back at the weekend’s action and dissect some of the Aussies that played well across the footballing world.

Jackson Irvine 

Jackson Irvine was reliable as always for St. Pauli over the weekend. Despite his good performance, a late equaliser to SV Sanhausen saw them miss out on a chance to go into the automatic promotion places. 

St. Pauli currently sits 3rd in the 2. Bundesliga, one point being Werder Bremen in second and three points behind Schalke 04 in first. With a month left of the season, it now becomes pivotal that St. Pauli starts getting results as they do not want to go through the uncertainty that is the playoffs. 

Irvine will play a big role in their ability to get those required results. He plays a very curricula role in that side and is one of the key cogs that allow them to play the football that they do. He occupies the right-hand side of midfield in a midfield diamond; however, his position is much more nuanced than that. 

He occupies the wide-right space on that side, almost playing as a more traditional right midfielder, rather than a central midfielder. This suits his strengths of having a big engine to get up and back all day, as well as being able to play a line-breaking pass should he be required to do. 

His 77 percent pass completion rate, which was 4th highest on the pitch, and 10 of 12 duels won shows his well-roundedness and ability to have an impact both in and out of possession. This ability is so valuable to a side that relies on work rate and discipline to construct an effective system. These attributes that he shows for St. Pauli, will translate brilliantly to his role played for the Socceroos. 

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Irvine’s season has been typified by hard work and an incredible work ethic that has been able to elevate his game to new heights in the last 12 months. These assets that he is exhibiting for his German side could see him land a move to another European team in the transfer window, should all the circumstances fall into place. 

Irvine should be an absolute shoo-in for a starting spot for the Socceroos’ games in June. He is exactly what they need in midfield. A no-nonsense, workhorse who puts the team first and has the football IQ to play a very nuanced role very effectively. He will allow the likes of Tom Rogic and Ajdin Hrustić to play a freer role because they know they have the security blanket of Irvine just behind them. 

This will lead to an overall higher attacking output from the Socceroos. As it not only allows their better players to play more free roles in attack, but it makes them much less susceptible to a counter-attack, as Irvine’s speed and stamina allow him to cover ground very quickly, putting out fires at every opportunity. 

If Irvine can continue performing the way he is, he should be the first player on the team sheet for the Socceroos in June, as well as potentially having a summer transfer window move in the pipeline. 

Aziz Behich 

Aziz Behich has returned from the international break and returned with a vengeance. After having a below-par month in the lead up to the break 3 weeks ago, he has returned to Turkey and has been back to his reliable best. Playing as a part of a defence that held perennial contender Besiktas to a 0-0 draw. He was very solid in defence, having two tackles and not getting dribbled past once throughout the 90. He won 100 percent of his duels and that goes to show how he has returned to form since that international break. 

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