Mariners captain Bozanic makes case for Socceroos recall


Central Coast captain Oliver Bozanic hopes that his strong displays as a Mariners' defensive midfielder will revive his stagnant Socceroos career.

The 'forgotten Socceroo' has been one of the stand-out performers for the A-League leaders this season but he has not played for Australia since 2015.

After helping the Mariners win their only championship in 2013 he moved abroad, but is now back in Gosford and plotting another tilt at the title.

Bozanic has played only seven times for Australia, among them two appearances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and is keen to add to the tally when the Socceroos resume their campaign to reach the finals in Qatar.

"I've played in every midfield position and I'd love to get more opportunities to play for Australia," he said after training in preparation for the Mariners' next match at Adelaide United on Friday.

"I've been very fortunate to play in a World Cup, which was a great experience, and I've always loved playing for my country. Needless to say, I'm available."

Bozanic's chances of a recall may have been boosted by the international retirement of defensive midfielders Mile Jedinak and Mark Milligan.

Which makes his move to a less offensive role in the Mariners' set-up more crucial.

Bozanic is relishing the role of keeping things ticking along in partnership with fellow holding midfielder Gianni Stensness.

If striker Matt Simon is the heart and soul of the team, then Bozanic is the driving force.

"It's been a good start for us," he said.

"I started training with the team towards the end of last season. The mood was okay (despite the low position in the table) because the team was playing well but I did notice in pre-season that the team was working harder to be as fit as we are and this is showing every week.

"Our mindset has always been to improve and our performances each week have given us the added confidence to be in the position we are in now."

Bozanic has brought a wealth of experience to the Mariners, having played in England, Switzerland, Japan and Scotland.

Which is why coach Alen Stajcic had no qualms about making him captain and part of the club's leadership group.

Bozanic's role is of paramount importance, considering the Mariners have one of the youngest squads in the competition.

"As part of the leadership group, I feel I have made a contribution because we have several young players," he said.

"Along with Simon, Mark Birighitti and Kye Rowles, we have worked hard to make sure the players are doing well, encourage them and help them in this early part of their career.

"We are working extremely hard, following the (tactical) process, playing good football and growing as a team.

"Yes, we are a hard-working and fit side but from the goals we scored we showed we also have the ability to go forward.

"I am confident in what we can do and if we keep winning everything will look after itself."


Source SBS The World Game