The Socceroos’ impressive performance at the AFC Asian Cup is helping to inspire Brisbane Roar midfielder Luke Brattan as he prepares for the resumption of the Hyundai A-League.
Brattan, 24, was named by national coach Ange Postecoglou in a 45-player provisional squad late last year that began preparations for the AFC Asian Cup but he was not included in the final Socceroos squad for the tournament.
Niggling injuries in the Roar’s three matches prior to the AFC Asian Cup break also prevented Brattan from fully showcasing his skills.
Brattan has now fully recovered. He says watching the Socceroos reach the quarter-finals, in between completing every session of the Roar’s intense training program during the break, has him eager to get back on the park.
The Roar resume their season with a Suncorp Stadium match against Wellington Phoenix on Monday, 2 February (7pm kick-off). Other matches in the split round are scheduled this weekend and next week.
“I feel good, all the injuries are gone,’’ Brattan said.
“We needed the conditioning sessions because we have a heavy load of matches coming up. The coaches have pushed us hard and now all the boys look sharp.
“The break has been bit of a rhythm killer but it was a good chance for a couple of boys to come back from injury and for others to freshen up. We now see it as a good thing.”
Brattan says getting recognised by Postecoglou in his provisional squad was pleasing and helped him focus on his goals for the remainder of the season.
“At least I know I am on (Ange’s) radar but now I’ve got to keep on working hard and improve my game and hopefully I can make a final squad and not just the 45,” Brattan said.
“My goal now is to stay injury free and if I can do that I will get fitter and more confident and hopefully start putting in good performances week after week.”
Brattan said seeing Roar captain Matt McKay shine for the Socceroos in the AFC Asian Cup was further inspiration to chase a green and gold cap.
“I’ve played with Matt for a long time . . . he never stops. He’s a professional on and off the field. I’ve definitely learned a lot from him over the years. I look up to him and it is an honour to play for him,” Brattan said.
Brattan made his debut for the Roar in 2009-10 and has now played 79 Hyundai A-League games for three goals. The defensive midfielder has one of the highest completion rates on his passing in the competition and receives regular plaudits for his searching crossfield deliveries and piercing through balls.
“Passing is one of the best assets of my game. I worked on it a lot as a junior and it is paying off now,’’ he said.
“As a defensive midfielder I’ve got to be good on the ball and start attacks so I’ve got to be good at passing, both short and long. I pride myself on my passing but I’m also working hard on other aspects of my game to be a more complete player.”
As well as getting back into Hyundai A-League action, Brattan also is looking forward to the Roar’s return to the AFC Asian Champions League. He was mainly a bench player in the Roar’s last ACL campaign in 2012.
The Roar has drawn into Group G along with K-League runners-up Suwon Bluewings, J-League runners-up Urawa Red Diamonds and a qualifier, probably from either China or Thailand. The matches start in late February.
“It’s going to be tough going to Asia but the boys, and me personally, are looking forward to it. It will be a great experience,” Brattan said.