Mark Milligan believes the Socceroos are underrated.
Ranked 50th in the world, a gallant Australia went down 2-1 at the hands of 10th-placed England in Sunderland over the weekend. An early Marcus Rashford strike as well as a Wayne Rooney stunner were enough to see the Three Lions over the line at home as they warmed up for the upcoming European Championships.
Ange Postecoglou and his men will have the chance to redeem the defeat in the forthcoming two-game Dodoni Series against Greece. Yet despite the England defeat, Milligan insists the team is headed in the right direction and that there was plenty to be positive about.
The 30-year-old praised the Socceroos’ performance.
“First and foremost, we judge ourselves on the performance. More often than not, if our performance is good, the result is good,” Milligan said.
“Definitely (the Socceroos are underrated).
“Obviously we fell a little bit short in terms of the result, but I think there was a lot of positives that came out of the match against England. We want to be able to compete on the world stage against anyone.
“We set goals of ourselves internally that people don’t understand or see from the outside, so that’s most important for us, that each time we step onto the field at training or a matchday that we’re improving as a team.
“We’ve created plenty of depth over the last couple of years and everyone seems to be on the same page and heading in the right direction.”
The former Melbourne Victory skipper says Australia will be aiming to play their way against the visiting Greeks and establish a high-tempo control on both games.
“We’re facing a world class side with world class players so I know it will be up to us again. We’ll want to set the tempo and play the way we do.
“We’ve made a point of not focusing so much on who the opposition is but what we want to do.
“We have to be able to keep up with them, we want to play a very high-tempo game, and the young players make that a lot easier, it’s just natural for them.
“Across the board, whether it’s myself, the young boys or Timmy (Cahill), we’re all on board with what’s happening and I think we showed against England that we can play our tempo and our match against anyone.”
Game one of the Dodoni Series will be played at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday before game two kick off on Tuesday night at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium.