Kosta keen for Kiwi clashes

Buoyed by confidence instilled in him by New Zealand national team coach Ricki Herbert, Brisbane Roar’s Kosta Barbarouses has big plans for the months leading into the next Hyundai A-League season.

Buoyed by confidence instilled in him by New Zealand national team coach Ricki Herbert, Brisbane Roar-s Kosta Barbarouses has big plans for the months leading into the next Hyundai A-League season.

Barbarouses was recalled to the All Whites set-up by Herbert for friendlies against Japan and China last month after a stand-out first season with the Brisbane-based club in which he finished the year as top goal scorer with a tally of 12.

While the Japan fixture was cancelled due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that recently rocked the Asian nation, New Zealand fielded a strong side against the Chinese national side, coming away with a credible 1-1 draw.

“The game was a couple of weeks after the season ended so I was still on a high,” said Barbarouses, who impressed in his 45 minute cameo.

“We were losing 1-0 when I came on and I think we started to play better in the second half.

“We scored about ten minutes in and the game really could-ve gone either way so it was quite a good match to be involved in.”

With another two massive friendlies scheduled for early June against CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico and Australia-s very own Qantas Socceroos, the young striker said coach Herbert had handed him a big vote of confidence regarding his future with the All Whites.

“Ricki said I played well and told me I have a good future ahead of me with the national team which was very encouraging to hear,” Barbarouses said.

“We-ve got these other games coming up so it-ll be really good if I can be involved again and the signs are looking good.

“They are two massive games, both Mexico and Australia are in the top 20 in the world so it-ll be a huge test for us.”

Barbarouses was also relishing in the chance at facing off against his club captain Matt McKay in the Trans-Tasman duel that will take place on June 5 at Adelaide Oval.

“It-ll be a huge game and to play against Matty as well - it-ll be a great occasion,” the 21-year-old said.

“Mexico is going to be a massive test but I-m probably looking forward to the Australia game more if I-m going to be honest!”

With all to aim for over the coming months including another big season in the orange jersey, Barbarouses said there was no better place to work on maintaining his fitness levels and improving his play than under the guidance of the Brisbane Roar coaching staff in pre-season training.

“I want to get as fit and sharp as I can,” he said.

“I want to build on last year, I think there are a few more gears in me.

“I-m only young, I just want to keep getting better and take my game to the next level.”

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