Uncapped export Brandon Borrello has emerged as one of Australia’s latest success stories, but the winger is playing down speculation he is a FIFA World Cup bolter-in-the-making.
Excelling for 2.Bundesliga strugglers Kaiserslautern in his debut season in Europe, the 22-year-old Brisbane Roar product is firmly on the radar of new Australia coach Bert van Marwijk, with Russia 2018 kicking off in less than four months.
Borrello, who captured his first goal in the recent 3-1 win over Holstein Kiel, won’t have to travel far if he gets the nod.
However, the former youth international is not allowing thoughts of a Socceroos breakthrough distract him from his day job of helping the Red Devils - who are on their fifth coach of a turbulent season - from easing urgent relegation fears.
“It (the Socceroos) plays on your mind sometimes but, given the situation at the club, that’s what I’m focusing on,” Borrello declared.
“Firstly, you don’t want your head getting too big and secondly if you think you deserve a shot and don’t get it then you’re going to be disappointed.
“I try and keep those thoughts as far away from my mind as possible.
“Of course, a call up would be terrific but then if it doesn’t come you’ll start asking yourself what you’re doing wrong, and maybe start doubting yourself.
“If it happens it happens, meantime I’m just enjoying playing week-in week-out in Europe - and there’s not much I can complain about.”
Borrello, who was typecast by many as a likely bit-part player in his debut season in Europe, has made 13 league appearances for the side seven points from safety at the bottom of the ladder.
He’s discovered a level of consistency which has won the trust of his teammates and the coaching staff, with Michael Frontzek, the latest in the hot seat, taking charge earlier this month.
When Borrello arrived Norbert Meier was at the helm, followed by two interim bosses and then Jeff Strasser.
Borrello was been deployed on both wings, and even as a right back this season.
“Right now I’m playing wide right and, for me, the big thing here has been finding the sharpness that’s required to play in the first team,” he added.
“It’s about improving your first touch and always being switched on because you’re always looking over your shoulder.
“I like to think I’ve risen to the occasion but there’s still a long way to go.”
Borrello is convinced Kaiserslautern can escape the drop with six-pointers looming on Thursday against fellow strugglers Darmstadt and Erzgebirge Aue on Saturday (AEDT).
“If we pick up some points there it will hopefully set us up for a nice run 'til the end of the season,” he added.
“We’re very positive and the belief is strong that we’ll stay up.”