Brad Jones is one of the three goalkeepers competing for the starting berth as Socceroos No.1 against Kuwait on Monday with mainstay custodian Maty Ryan absent through injury.
Ryan has opted out of camp in Dubai to recover from a slight injury, leaving the door open for Jones, Danny Vukovic and Mitch Langerak to press their own claims.
All three glovemen have a case to start the international friendly in Kuwait City, built up in different leagues, though ultimately only one will have the chance to impress Graham Arnold from the get-go.
Vukovic has been an ever-present in goal for Belgian side Racing Genk, and has helped the club to the top of the table after 10 league games.
Langerak has been unmoved for Nagoya Grampus in the J-League, finding continuity not seen since VfB Stuttgart’s season in the 2.Bundesliga two years ago.
But while Langerak is performing, Grampus’ form has been less than ideal, sitting in 16th, the promotion-relegation play-off spot.
Since moving from Feyenoord to Saudi club Al-Nassr, Jones has been a regular himself and Al-A’alamy are unbeaten for the Saudi Pro League season, five games in.
The oldest of the trio at 36, Jones backed up his selection for Bert van Marwijk’s World Cup squad with a place in Arnold’s first match camp in the Middle-East, and now has his sights set on the No.1 jersey – at least while Ryan is absent.
“We’ve got a good group in general, but I think we’ve got a great group of goalkeepers at the moment and the training level’s always high because it’s natural that you’re competing against the guys in training,” Jones said.
“We get along well off the pitch as well which is, I would say, an important factor as well. You want whoever’s playing to do well and I think in the past, you’ve had that fractious rivalry where it creates a problem maybe.
“We certainly don’t have that. We’re working towards one goal and it’s enjoyable to then come in and train hard. That’s the best way I think you can look at it.
“You want to come in and push as hard as you can and these guys are constantly doing that as well, so it’s perfect both on an individual level and on the team level.
“You want to come in and get something out of the training but also, we’re also pushing towards playing the game and it’s an important factor in the squad.”
Jones commented on life in Saudi Arabia, saying he and his family had settled well, while he was enjoying the standard of football on the pitch.
‘”It’s been good… the team’s performed really well, it’s a good standard,” Jones added.
“This year they’ve changed the foreign rule from three players to eight players so there’s a lot of foreigners coming in and the league’s grown with it, I think.
“From my point of view, the team’s performed well. We’ve had seven matches, seven wins so I couldn’t have wished for a better start on that front.”