Socceroos star Jackson Irvine has declared that a successful AFC Asian Cup tournament in 2024 is one of the the side’s major goals.
Addressing the media ahead of their friendly with England, the midfielder was clear on the steps that he hopes the side will take in the coming months.
“For us, the immediate target is that we have the Asian Cup coming up in January. We want to win it and we want to be competitive, be at the top end of that tournament,” Irvine said.
The Socceroos will be looking to kick their Asian Cup campaign off with a bang when they face India in their opening game on Saturday, January 13, 2024.
In the meantime, a new World Cup cycle has begun and preparations are already underway. Irvine explained how the Socceroos are planning to build on what they’ve achieved in recent tournaments.
“Of course, automatic qualification. In the last two World Cup cycles, we’ve gone through playoff drama, which we would very much hope to avoid this time around,” he said.
“So a successful Asian Cup campaign and an automatic World Cup qualification is definitely the kind of realistic target for this team.”
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The 30-year-old shrugged off comparisons to previous years, where high-profile Socceroos have featured in the top flight of English football.
As he explained, the evolution of the game worldwide has changed the dynamic of international football, with Socceroos stars playing their football in a wide variety of locations.
“We’ve got players at different stages of their careers at the moment. Players who’ve had different paths, playing at different leagues at different levels,” he explained.
“Obviously, the development of the game in the last 20 years has been quite dramatic across world football, not just in [the UK].
“In 2006, we had players in the Premier League playing at the highest level. But we didn’t have that in Qatar, yet we performed equally as well.
“International football is an interesting dynamic now. I think it’s less important where players play domestic football and it’s more about the dynamic of the team.
“I think we’ve shown going up against Mexico in recent weeks, that we’re capable of competing at this level despite not having players play at Premier League level.”