Australia Under-23s will never spurn the chance to represent their country

Australia Under-23s will never spurn the chance to represent their country


Olyroos goalkeeper Danijel Nizic insists he and his teammates will always jump at the chance to represent Australia when called upon, at any level and in any competition.

A row between the A-League clubs and FFA threatened to derail Ante Milicic’s team’s run at the AFC Under-23 Championship in China this month.

Led by Central Coast Mariners, who were one of ultimately four clubs to lose three players to under-23 duty, the teams pushed for a compromise on player loss between themselves and head office.

The matter was taken to the National Arbitration Tribunal but despite the push, it ruled in favour of FFA, and a full compliment of Olyroos selections parted for China, much to the clubs’ disgruntlement.

“We are passionate that a stronger A-League will result in stronger national teams, therefore anything that weakens the A-League must be challenged rigorously,” Central Coast chairman Mike Charlesworth said in December.

“The A-League should not play second fiddle to an under 23s competition in China.”

How in camp, the Olyroos have begun preparations for the tournament which kicks off on Thursday night against Syria.

Milicic’s men, at full strength, prepared for games against the Middle Eastern nation as well as Vietnam and South Korea with a 2-1 win over Thailand.

Playing in League Two with Morcambe, Nizic, who played half the match against Thailand, observed the bickering from afar, told Thursday’s Daily Football Show the saga had long been forgotten, and none of his teammates had ever wanted to shun their national duties.

“I heard a little bit about what happened with that (A-League clubs vs FFA) … we’re here now, no one’s really thinking about that, everyone’s working hard,” the 22-year-old said.

“Everyone, no matter what, wants to put this jersey on and play for their country, it’s an honour.

“Every time you get called up, of course you’re going to want to go and play for your country.”

Nizic himself will be out to add to his single Olyroos cap at the tournament as he looks to forge a career of his own.

The Sydney FC product move to England with Burnley in 2013, moving to League Two side Morcambe in 2016 after three loan stints.

A deep area in the broader Socceroos scheme, Nizic adds to the burgeoning stock of goalkeepers at senior level, including Mat Ryan, Mitch Langerak, Danny Vukovic, Mark Birighitti and Brad Jones, just to name a few.

Not short of inspiration, Nizic said there was no reason he could not reach the same level as his countrymen.

“You look at Mat Ryan, he was playing in the A-League and now he’s playing in the Premier League and he’s doing very well,” he added.

“So of course you’re looking at them. You get that (feeling) … that you can do it, people in Australia can do it.”