McMaster focused on Mariners

A Socceroos shirt is back on the agenda for Australian-born former England youth international Jamie McMaster.

A Socceroos shirt is back on the agenda for Australian-born former England youth international Jamie McMaster.

But the former Leeds United prodigy has far more humble goals in mind as he strives to rebuild his promising career in the A-League, starting with a likely debut for home-town team the Central Coast Mariners against the New Zealand Knights in Gosford on Sunday.

"I think that's pretty far away at the moment," McMaster said of his Socceroos' ambitions.

"I haven't kicked a ball or played a proper match in two months. The World Cup is miles away from me... maybe in a few years to come, anything can happen. I'm just enjoying football again."

The 23-year-old returned to Australia last October after six turbulent years with former Premier League giants Leeds.

His last few years have been spent mainly on loan with clubs in England's lower divisions - and a three-month stint with Danish outfit AGF Aarhus.

McMaster cased a stir in 1999 when, as a 16-year-old and with the influence of his Elland Road club, he decided against representing Australia to play for the England youth team.

Fortunately for Australia, McMaster's international career never took off.

And after several years without another England cap, world governing body FIFA has ratified the attacking midfielder's request to be eligible again for Australian selection.

"There are a few boys in the Australian league that do get noticed by the Australian manager, so anything can happen," said McMaster, who signed a short-term deal with the Mariners 10 days ago but was only cleared to play late Friday after receiving a formal release from AGF Aarhus.

"A few good games, a few goals... you just never know."

"But at the moment the Central Coast comes first, that's the only thing I'm thinking about, showing the Central Coast what I can do and helping them get into the finals."

McMaster, who hopes to return to Europe in the future but only after at least a full season regaining his footballing feet in the A-League, has no regrets about his decision to make use of his British heritage and play for England.

"It was some of the best times in my life," he said.

"It didn't matter who I was playing for I just wanted to play international football. The fact was I was going to benefit playing against teams like Brazil and Portugal and in the European Championships."

"It was nothing to do with turning my back (on Australia). I just decided on (England). And Leeds, as a big, massive club, didn't want me to travel back and forth to Australia at such a young age."

"I learnt so much from it... and I don't hide the fact that I played for England."

"But I'm Australian. And I'm Australian through and through now."