Sam Silvera has joined the Socceroos camp in Abu Dhabi before their clash with Bahrain in preparation for the Asian Cup.
Debuting for the Socceroos on 5 August 2023 against Mexico as a substitute in their 2 – 2 draw, the natural forward enters his international campaign after playing a wing role for his domestic club, Middlesbrough FC.
Whilst Silvera has hopes for pushing for a place in the World Cup squad in 2026, his main focus is on the game at hand.
“This tournament right now is a good place for me to learn, especially off some of the boys that have been there,” he said.
“Wherever Arnie [Graham Arnold] needs me I’m going to put my best foot forward and get a lot more experience as it goes on.
“The focus is on everyday but again it would be amazing to be in that squad.”
The 23-year-old has consistently performed for Middlesbrough in the EFL Championship, starting in four games in ten days.
The focus in camp is creating a positive environment for everyone, and building on relationships in the first couple of days.
“The focus is definitely just on us … it’s the first couple of days so it’s about the camaraderie, about getting to know some of the new boys and obviously getting back into the rhythm of everything,” he added.
“No matter who we verse, it’s about us, and we’re gonna take it to anyone we come up against.”
It’s a surreal moment for the then 14-year-old Silvera who watched the 2015 Asian Cup at home on the TV.
“I was actually watching it [the final] with my family, and my nan didn’t really know what was going on but me and my mum did and I just remember celebrating,” he said.
Australia came out victorious in January 2015 over South Korea, taking home the cup with a 2 – 1 result.
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Riley McGree was ruled out of the Socceroos indefinitely following a foot injury sustained in October. Silvera’s Middlesborough FC teammate is tracking along well and is fighting for a spot back in the Aussie team.
“For the last couple of weeks before this camp he was doing really well and he looks sharp, he looks fit,” Silvera said.
“It’s good to have him back and obviously he’s a massive bonus for the squad and hopefully wee can get him back to that game fitness again.”
The Socceroos will face Bahrain on Sunday 7 January 1:00am AEDT.