A resurgent Tommy Oar is once again knocking on the international door after a standout start to the new season for high-flying FC Utrecht.
Touted as Harry Kewell in miniature when he made his Australia debut against Indonesia back in March 2010, the 170cm left-sided flier was lauded by Football Federation Australia, fans and pundits as the face of the future.
But despite switching from Brisbane Roar to Eredivisie outfit Utrecht – in a package deal with fellow Roar products Adam Sarota and Michael Zullo – Oar has gone on to win just three further caps – the last of which came at the AFC Asian Cup almost two years ago.
He has yet to feature in a squad named by Socceroos coach Holger Osieck but a recent switch of position at Utrecht has produced an about-turn in the fortunes of a newly bulked-up Oar, who at 20 is now a regular starter for his club, along with housemate Sarota.
And with Australia in need of an X-factor infusion as it seeks to ignite its qualification campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Iraq on October 17 (ADT), Oar insists he is primed for a recall.
"If the call comes then I am definitely ready," he said. "There is a lot of competition for places and I'd love to add my name to that list.
"If I keep doing well for my cub then hopefully I'll be considered again but it's obviously out of my hands.
"It's good to see my teammate Adam (Sarota) back involved again with the national team of late and fingers crossed my chance will also come again.
"I am playing with a lot of confidence right now and happy with things but things go up and down very quickly in football, so you never take anything for granted."
Oar watched – and almost certainly winced – Australia's inept 2-1 loss to Jordan earlier this month, a defeat which leaves it with just two points from three games in qualifying for Brazil 2014.
But he insists: "It wasn't a great performance but for sure we have the players to turn it around and there is a lot of pressure for our next game against Iraq."
Oar, who missed the start of the season through injury, has played in fifth-placed Utrecht's last five games, creating his team's only goal in its last Eredivsie clash against Roda JC when Dave Bulthuis got on the end of his wickedly dipping free-kick in the 24th minute, with the help of a goalkeeping error, to earn a 1-0 win.
Oar was also instrumental as a nine-man Utrecht shocked PSV Eindhoven the previous week; his whipped free kick met again by Bulthuis, who buried the header for a 1-0 win.
"I have been taking the corners and free kicks and luckily for me, we've been scoring a few goals," he said.
Oar sees his switch of position to a more central midfield role, alongside Sarota, as key to his progression this season, following on from last campaign for Utrecht where he made 18 appearances but little impact.
"I was brought to the club as a winger and that's pretty much all I knew, and at times I was a little one-dimensional in my play," he admitted.
"I would get the ball and try and take on a player and put in a cross. Maybe when I did that in Australia and took a wrong option I'd have got away with it but the higher level you play at you get found out.
"I am just working on keeping possession and getting the right balance into my game.
"But the switch inside means I get a lot more of the ball and I am far less isolated and I am really enjoying the role.
"I am playing left of a midfield diamond. I came off the bench in a couple of early season games and have started the last three," said Oar, who was left disappointed on Thursday morning (ADT) as powerhouse Ajax sent Utrecht spinning out of the Dutch Cup 3-0 in Amsterdam.
"I am a lot stronger physically than last season after putting in some extra work in the gym and I am not getting knocked off the ball as easily," he said.