Socceroos bolter Nestory Irankunda has backed his ability to score against Ecuador if given game time by national coach Graham Arnold.
Named as a “train-on” player rather than an official member of the 26-man Socceroos squad chosen for this month’s two-game series against the South Americans, the Adelaide United whiz-kid is hoping Arnold gives him the chance to make his debut for Australia.
“When I got the phone call, I was a bit shocked,” 17-year-old Irankunda said.
“I didn’t think it would come this early, but I’m just happy that they’ve given me an opportunity to go with the squad.
“This is football, so it does happen.”
Irankunda has been rewarded for his sizzling for with the Reds.
Although yet to make an A-League start for Adelaide, excitement-machine Irankunda has scored three goals in his part three appearances for the in-form South Australian club.
“My confidence is really high, so I’ll just try my best on the field and off the field,” he said,
“If I do play against Ecuador, I just want to try my hardest to get a goal and help the team out.
“It would be a really good opportunity for me and for my family, and everybody else in the club, playing for the Socceroos at such a young age.
“Hopefully … it happens to me.”
Irankunda paid tribute to the Adelaide supporters for making him “feel amazing”.
“I love the fans here and they make me feel like I’m at home,” he said.
“We love playing at home because it gives us hype.”
Reds skipper and Socceroos attacker Craig Goodwin urged Irankunda to make the most of his opportunity to train with the national squad.
“For him, it’s a great opportunity in terms of getting into that environment and seeing what it’s all about, and what he can do,” Goodwin said.
Goalkeeper Joe Gauci is the other Reds player named in the national squad, getting an opportunity following the retirement from international football of veteran Central Coast Mariners gloveman Danny Vukovic.
“I have no expectation to go in and play,?” the 22-year-old custodian said.
“I’m going in to learn and if I get that the opportunity to make an appearance then I’ll take it with both hands.
“For me, it’s probably just going in and showing what I can do and (gain) some development as well, but, of course, I have my eye on the future and hopefully being part of this set-up for years to come.”
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