Juric on why he came back to the A-League and frustrations with van Marwijk


Tomi Juric is back in the A-League and is looking to use the domestic competition as a platform to force his way back into the Socceroos squad.

Juric, who had A-League stints with Adelaide United and Western Sydney from 2013-15, has spent the past five years in Europe, but re-signed with the Reds late last year.

The Sydneysider's return to the A-League isn't a backwards step for Juric, who has his ambitions set high with a return to the Socceroos high on the agenda.

Juric spoke to SBS The World Game's Lucy Zelic about a wide range of topics, including his reasons for returning to play again in Australia.

"With all this global pandemic and what's gone on, it puts me in the window for the Socceroos again, being back home," said Juric.

"That was massive.

"Two years not being involved, missing out on the Asian Cup was really heartbreaking for me. It kept giving me the desire to work harder, but as I was doing that, I was basically running on the spot when the pandemic hit.

"I knew the only way to get back in the national team was to head home and get into that window and be included in the Socceroos again."

The 29-year-old with 41 Socceroos caps returns to Australia after playing in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and most recently in Bulgaria with CSKA Sofia. 

His most recent appearance for the national team was in 2018 in a friendly against Lebanon, and Juric aims for that not to be his last.

"There's another World Cup coming up, I think I might start with that," said Juric of his goals. "I am 29 now and I really do believe I am in my prime.

"As soon as I get some games under my belt and my fitness up, I believe that I'll be in the best shape of my career."

"As a kid you want to go to one, play in one, score in one... I haven't done that yet, but I'm planning to do that in the next one."

Tomi Juric in action for the Socceroos (Getty Images)

Juric played in all three matches of the 2018 World Cup for Australia, and fondly remembered the feeling of playing in the rarefied atmosphere.

"The goosebumps you get when you think 'I'm at a World Cup, we're playing against France, the clubs that these players play for and you're standing on the same pitch as them'," said Juric.

"We're standing on the pitch singing the anthem and it just echoes in your soul. That's stuff money can't buy and stays with you forever and ever."

There were frustrations from the experience as well, Juric of the opinion that a different approach from head coach Bert van Marwijk may have yielded different results.

"To be fair, we did such a fantastic job in defending that no one scored easy against us," said Juric, "and when they did - the last game against Peru was a bit off the cuff, we did have to go out and attack that game, score and win to go through.

"I truly believe that if we had an Australian coach behind us who understood us as people and our mentality as Australians, we may have conceded more goals, but we would have gone down fighting, attacked teams and wanted to win.

"We did that all the way up to the World Cup. It was such a shame that Ange left."

"We fought at every other World Cup we've been involved in, at this one I thought we under-did ourselves on the effort side.

"We were sound, we were good. That belief was the main factor for us."