Roo recruit out to prove A-League players belong
MELBOURNE Victory coach Kevin Muscat believes Thomas Deng's ferocious appetite for football could see him cement a place in the Socceroos set-up.
And he feels call-ups for other Victory players could be on the horizon after sharp form from his Australians to begin the season.
Deng is one of four "train-on" players with the Socceroos in Brisbane this week and, with full squad member Josh Risdon, one of five A-League players in camp.
The 21-year-old returns to Graham Arnold's set-up after debuting against Kuwait last month.
"We're pleased for him that he's going away and he's been recognised," Muscat said.
"He understands there's areas in his game that he's really good at and I'm big on improving and building on what you're good at.
"We're working him, repeating and building and in some areas that he needs to work on and get better at himself.
"He's got a great appetite. He's really enjoying himself he always got a smile on his face." Deng said he was more comfortable heading away after breaking the ice in Kuwait. "Now that I'm familiar with everything, I can put my nerves aside and train hard," he said.
"You've got to bring your A-game every training and game.... I'm very honoured to come into camp and train with them."
The fan favourite has been drafted into a central defensive role at club level despite being picked for the Socceroos primarily as a right-back, but dismissed the role-swapping as "no problem".
Victory have a number of players who could also push for selection for the Asian Cup and beyond.
James Troisi has ben in red-hot form but appears unfavoured by Arnold, while Terry Antonis has scored twice in four Victory outings to date. Both were in Ange Postecoglou's title-winning squad four years ago.
Others, like goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas, are outside chances of pushing into the team with strong seasons.
"For the other boys, it's down to them, isn't it?" Muscat said.
"It's down to them to impress the national team coach, that's the responsibility that lies with him and the national team coach will make those decisions.
"But always believe that, it's fact for me, the individual success follows team success, not the other way around.
"If all the players you mentioned and the rest go down that road, you might be surprised."