Nathan Burns has been in great form for Wellington this season.
Nathan Burns has been in great form for Wellington this season. GETTY IMAGES

Is Nathan Burns the one to bring the cup home?

IF you had asked Nathan Burns for a Christmas wish I am sure that near the top of his list would have been a call-up to the Socceroos' Asian Cup squad.

He might have been hoping rather than expecting a place in Ange Postecoglou's 23-man squad but his dreams came true this week.

Some might have thought it a surprise that the 26-year-old made the squad but if you look at his form this season, his stats were asking for a recall to the Australian line-up for the first time since 2011.

For some Burns was a bolter for the squad to take on the best in Asia on home soil next month.

But if he has been anything, Postecoglou has been consistent in saying that if you are a player in form then you will be given your chance to shine at international level.

True to his word, Burns made the squad this week with Postecoglou explaining why he got the nod.

"Form is probably the No. 1 thing," he said.

"But there's also a factor of whether players will fit into the style of football I want to play.

"It's whether I believe people will fit into the style of football I want to play and the evolution of this team.

"I coached Nathan at under-17 level, so I always knew he had the ability, and I think he's the type of player who will fit into what we do.

"His form has been compelling, if you are a striker and scoring goals that's pretty compelling getting you into the team."

Burns has been banging in the goals for Wellington Phoenix, 11 in total, including a first-ever hat-trick by a Phoenix player, has shot him to the top of the goalscoring charts.

It has been a long-time coming but Burns seems to be finally showing the promise he first showed as a 19-year-old when making his debut for Adelaide United.

He also scored that club's first hat-trick but a move to AEK Athens saw his form nosedive and it got no better when he moved to South Korea and played for Incheon United.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has managed to find that missing something for Burns and he is finally fulfilling the promise that everyone believed he had.

Burns is probably behind in the pecking order behind the likes of Robbie Kruse and Mathew Leckie in the Socceroos line-up.

But who knows, Postecoglou might see Burns as the man to help take the burden of goalscoring off Tim Cahill.

If he can make an impact in the Asian Cup more than seven years after making his Socceroos debut, then he might just be the man to help bring the Asian Cup home.



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