Andrew Nabbout has no doubt he’s the man Bert van Marwijk should hand the responsibility of providing the goal threat against France on Saturday.
Bursting with belief after being handed starts in all four games since the Dutchman took charge, Nabbout believes he’s done more than enough to command top billing in Australia’s FIFA World Cup opener.
More bullish than bashful, the 25-year-old Japan-based live-wire has done himself no harm in the pursuit of pipping Tomi Juric, Tim Cahill and Jamie Maclaren in pursuit of the one striker’s spot up for grabs.
He buried a bullet finish in the 4-0 friendly win over the Czech Republic and while less effective in the 2-1 victory over Hungary a week later, Nabbout has no doubt where he deserves to stand in the pecking order.
“I think I deserve to be here (with the Socceroos),” Nabbout said.
“I’ve done everything I can to be here and 100 [per cent] deserve it and I can’t imagine anybody would argue the toss.
“I think there’s definitely more to come from me.
“The more I put teams under pressure, and the better that relationship between us in the front four gets, then I will feel there will be a lot more calls to come.
“If I do get to lead the line you know what you are going to get out of me, which is exactly what I have been doing in the last few games.”
Nabbout sees his energy, change of pace and ability to chase down defenders with jackal-like ferocity as key elements that have endeared him to van Marwijk.
“The pressing game suits me very well. It’s a similar style to when I was at Newcastle, trying to get in behind teams and force errors from defenders as was the case against the Czechs,” he said.
Nabbout was involved in a spikey exchange with Trent Sainsbury at training on Wednesday (AEST), a reflection of the intensity demanded by van Marwijk.
“There was nothing in it to be honest it was just emotions at training. I was more angry with myself,” he admitted.
“There are no issues there and camaraderie is high in the team. We are just focusing on France.”
With four players chasing one spot, he knows there’s little margin for error.
“In training you do everything you can to go out there and be the starting striker,” he added.
“Between the four of us there’s good healthy competition.
“Macca (Maclaren) came in late, which was a bit of a surprise but I’ve welcomed it because It gives us more attacking options.
“It’s just about trying to prove a point to the coach and grab that starting spot.”
Nabbout credits Jets coach Ernie Merrick with taking his game “to the next level”.
“It’s been a constant, gradual build up to this,” he added.