While his teammates enjoy a quieter weekend with no Hyundai A-League games scheduled due to the international break, Melbourne Victory defender Thomas Deng will join Graham Arnold’s Socceroos squad ahead of friendlies against South Korea and Lebanon.
“I’m very happy and honoured to be called up to the national team and [I’m] looking forward to the games,” Deng said following Victory’s 4-1 win over Central Coast.
“I’ll go into camp, train as hard as I can and hopefully win selection for one of the games.”
As for where he’ll play, the versatile 21-year-old is ready, willing and able to do whatever is asked of him.
“I’m comfortable to play centre-half or right back.
“I started off as a right back in the Victory youth team, I’m comfortable in both positions, I don’t mind. Anywhere I’m needed I’m happy to play.”
For Deng, one of four A-League players invited into camp as a train on player, it’s the second international squad in succession he’s been involved in, having made his debut in the green and gold against Kuwait last month.
“My first camp was an amazing [experience].
“[Expectations are] the same as here: high.
"It's the national team, you’re playing at an international level, you’ve got to bring your a-game to every session and match.
“Being around the group and getting to know the staff, now I’m familiar with those things I can put any nerves aside and train hard.
“The players are quality, there are good leaders including Millsy [Mark Milligan], I’m honoured to go into camp and train with them.”
Deng will join up with his international teammates in a positive frame of mind, taking confidence from a strong fortnight in the heart of the Victory defence alongside German Georg Niedermeier.
“It’s always good to get a [positive] result before camp.
“It was a very good performance, especially the first half. I thought we controlled the game really well and created a lot of opportunities.”
This season marks the first in which Australian football will observe a club break during international fixtures.
Deng will be hoping to win a place in Arnold’s second 23-man squad, to be named on Sunday 18 November, with that team to face Lebanon at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on Tuesday night.