Breakthrough Socceroo Duke hankers for another overseas deal

Mitchell Duke in action for the Socceroos Source: Getty Images

Reborn Socceroo Mitch Duke is eyeing another overseas stint after breaking back onto the national team stage and impressing in his A-League return with the Western Sydney Wanderers.

The attacking weapon’s first cap for six years in last week’s 1-0 friendly loss to Korea Republic came after he was parachuted in as a late replacement for the injured Chris Ikonomidis.

And Duke - who saw a header hit the post - did enough in his 60 minutes in a central striking role to likely cement a spot in coach Graham Arnold’s FIFA World Cup qualifying blueprint.

Whilst the 28-year-old’s hopes of staying involved with the green and gold aren’t dependent on landing another overseas deal - it wouldn’t harm those ambitions.

“The itch is certainly still there,” said Duke, who scored four goals in 11 appearances for the Wanderers at the back end of last season after his arrival from J1 side Shimizu S-Pulse.

“I had a taste of it in Japan for four years but I still feel like I’ve got more to offer overseas.

“I feel as if there’s unfinished business over there.

“I did well in Japan. I played regular first team football but didn’t make as much noise as I would have liked.

“I want to go back and make a bigger impression and a bigger name for myself.

“That could be in Asia again - I’m certainly open to going back to Japan - or even Europe still. 

“Maybe a 2.Bundesliga team in Germany. I’d love to give it a chance and test myself over there.”

Duke, who has a year left on his Wanderers deal, added: “Anything can happen. The most important thing is to do my best wherever I am.

“Graham Arnold has shown that if you do well in the A-League you will get that opportunity.”

With just four caps and two goals for the national team, Duke’s absence - particularly during Ange Postecoglou’s four-year tenure - was puzzling.

“I think any other players who have played as much top level football in Japan as I did would have had a lot more caps under their belt by now,” he added.

“I think I was a bit unlucky in that sense. Mentally that was quite frustrating.

“Arnie seems open to giving me a chance and I’m grateful for that. 

“I feel if he keeps doing that (going into the upcoming qualification campaign for Qatar 2022) I’m going to take it and show what I can do.

“I feel I have more to bring and can score goals as well. It’s up to me to do well at club level and keep putting my hand up.”

Duke, who played predominantly as a winger in Japan, may not be a one-man solution to Australia’s search for the goals which have dried up since the curtain came down on the Tim Cahill era.

But he believes they will come from multiple sources on the road to Qatar.

“I was personally disappointed not to score against Korea (in what was an experimental Socceroos lineup in Busan),” he added.

“I wasn’t even supposed to be in the camp but to come in and to then start was nice.

“We were up against a top quality team and I think we worked well together - although we’d have liked to have been a bit more of an attacking threat.

“We know there’s work to do in the front third. The way Arnie is playing he’s not necessarily looking at one player to solve that (goalscoring conundrum).

“He’s got an attacking three, and a number ten also, as well as the midfielders.

“He’s not relying on one individual - he’s putting the responsibility on everybody. It’s a very attacking formation.

“He’s looking at the depth across the park and I think overall he was pretty happy with the performance against Korea.

“There’s a lot to look forward to and a lot to be positive about.”