Gersbach hungry for rapid Socceroos return

Alex Gersbach in action for Australia Under-21's Source: Getty Images

Alex Gersbach was a notable absentee from Australia's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and UAE, but the young gun is planning a swift return to the Socceroos fold.

Overlooked because he was in pre-season with League and Cup double winning Rosenborg, and short of top-line game time, Gersbach helped his club to a 2-0 midweek Norwegian Super Cup win over Brann, and is expected to start in the first game of the new Tippelgaen season against Odd on Monday (AEST).

The wingback, still only 19, lost out to Brad Smith and Aziz Behich during the international break.

But that will prove to be just a brief interlude if he continues the rapid-fire development that has made him a fixture of recent squads as he seeks to rebound for June's World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia and the FIFA Confederations Cup after that.

The gifted teenager, who has two Australian caps, fully understood the reasons behind his omission - but it has only heightened his determination for a quick return to the Socceroos ranks.

Having spent the week with Josep Gombau's Olyroos, while the senior team faced Iraq and UAE, Gersbach said: "I understood being left out".

"I hadn't been in competition for a few months while Aziz Behich has been doing well in Turkey, playing every week.

"That's fair enough and I can't really complain about that too much.

"I just need to work hard and play my way back in there.

"It's a big goal of mine to go to the Confederations Cup and hopefully I will play well and impress Ange to get that call-up."

Gersbach has been locked in a two-way tussle with Bournemouth's Smith in recent camps - and it's likely that will again be the case heading into June.

With a game built around defending deep, interspersed with lightning quick attacking raids, Gersbach could theoretically be a beneficiary of Ange Postecoglou's newly unveiled 3-4-3 formation, which puts an emphasis on wide players who can both attack and defend.

"Whatever system the boss plays, the most important thing is to play well and force my way back into the squad," he said.

"And if that's in a wingback role, that would be great.

"Having been part of the squad I know that all the boys have total faith in Ange and whatever he wants to do and whatever system he wants to play.

"From the outside it might be a bit worrying (the new formation) for the fans but the boys have 100 per cent belief in Ange.

"And whatever system he plays we are always a good chance to win."

Gersbach insists that despite a run of four draws, followed by a laboured 2-0 win over UAE in Sydney, Australia are on the right trajectory to qualify for Russia 2018.

"Qualifying should never be easy but the Australian public and football fans seem to think that we should 100 per cent easily qualify for the World Cup," Gersbach said.

"It doesn't work that way ... it's always going to be difficult. You see big countries in Europe and South America struggling to qualify.

"It's not simple and we will have to fight to get through. As long as the country is behind us I think we're a big chance."