Brisbane Roar defender Luke DeVere has described his Socceroos debut as “a great honour and a great thrill” as he played 90 minutes in Australia’s 2-2 draw world champions Germany in Kaiserslautern overnight.
The 25-year-old, making his first senior appearance in green and gold five years after his last match for Australia’s Under 23s, partnered Alex Wilkinson in the centre of defence as Roar captain Matt McKay played 77 minutes in the midfield.
After he was named as one of four uncapped players in Ange Postecoglou’s 23-player squad, DeVere said he would have been happy to be involved against Germany in any way but was pleasantly surprised by his selection in the starting eleven.
“It was pure excitement,” he said.
“I was itching to get out there in any capacity and to be starting was an even bigger thrill.
“I wanted to go out there put my best foot forward.”
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou was full of praise for DeVere, who he coached at the Roar between 2010 and 2011.
“To see Lukey DeVere play 90 minutes against the world champs, he’s nowhere near 100 per cent fit but you could see right at the end there, he put him off in that one-on-one and that’s the belief that Australian players have,” he said.
DeVere re-joined Brisbane during the January transfer window after four years abroad with South Korean club Gyeongnam FC and just last week signed a two year contract extension keeping him in orange until the end of the 2016/17 season.
With the K-League Classic season ending in November, DeVere had to ensure a preseason-like conditioning program before playing senior football for the Roar which included a couple of Foxtel National Youth League matches.
He’s since played three AFC Champions League fixtures and four Hyundai A-League matches, performing well enough for Postecoglou to pick him for the current Socceroos squad.
“It was obviously a different standard to what I’ve been playing the past few weeks so that first 10 or 15 minutes, I was still finding my feet,” DeVere said, reflecting on his performance.
“I definitely felt more comfortable as the game went on.”
With Australia leading the world champions 2-1 with just 10 minutes remaining in the international friendly, DeVere thought the Socceroos’ performance and work ethic was enough to win the match.
“I think we created a number of chances, enough chances to go and win the game,” he said.
“The boys up front worked their butts off and they were outstanding as well, putting pressure on and when we turned the ball over, they created a real threat to the German backline.”
McKay, who made his 55th appearance for the Socceroos, was proud of the whole team’s performance.
“We had nothing to lose and we’re a confident side now after the Asian Cup,” he said.
“We believe in the way we play and we were brave and we went at them.”
The Socceroos now prepare for their match against FYR Macedonia on Monday (kick-off Tuesday, 31 March 5pm AEST) in Skopje with DeVere and McKay due to fly back to Brisbane following the game.