Socceroo in limbo as English season starts

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For the first time in four years, the English football season will kick off and Socceroos Jackson Irvine won't be part of the action.

The 27-year-old midfielder is yet to find a new club since being released by Hull City in June and admits he may have to leave the United Kingdom to get his career back on track.

Across the four English professional leagues there are just 16 senior Australian players while national team duo Irvine and Brad Smith uncontracted.

Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Mat Ryan is Australia's sole representative in the Premier League after Aaron Mooy transferred to China and Olyroos midfielder Aiden O'Neill left Burnley to sign with Melbourne City.

There are three players at English Championship teams including Socceroos Massimo Luongo (Sheffield Wednesday) and Harry Souttar (Stoke City) while a further 12 will play in League One and League Two - where ex-Adelaide forward George Blackwood has linked up with new Oldham coach Harry Kewell.

Irvine is not one of those ,however, with his last competitive match being Hull's 5-1 pre-COVID 5-1 Championship loss to Stoke City on March 8.

After establishing himself as a regular starter in Graham Arnold's Socceroos since the 2018 World Cup, Irvine's frustrations at the stall in his career are evident.

"It's six months since I last played; I don't think I've gone that long since I was five years old without playing football," Irvine told AAP.

"It is really bizarre and for myself, it's frustrating and disappointing, but I think the overwhelming thing for me is just missing it.

"Missing being a part of a team every day, being out there on a pitch and working and playing competitive games. I'm a competitor at heart and that's what I love doing.

"I'm itching to be back involved with someone as soon as I can."

Irvine has spent his entire professional career in the UK, starting in Scotland with Celtic, Kilmarnock and Ross County before stints at Burton Albion and Hull in England.

A move to Europe, the United States or even Asia is looking more likely by the day with Irvine's agent, former Socceroos midfielder Vince Grella, working behind the scenes to find his player a new club.

"I've always been open to broadening my scope in terms of where I play my football," Irvine said.

"It's looking like I'm definitely going to have to broaden those horizons and think about leaving the UK for the first time in 10 years.

"I'm not ruling out staying in England either but with everything that's going on, you definitely have to be open to new experiences and trying something different."

AUSTRALIANS IN ENGLISH LEAGUE FOOTBALL

PREMIER LEAGUE

Mat Ryan - Brighton & Hove Albion

CHAMPIONSHIP

Massimo Luongo - Sheffield Wednesday

Jacob Chapman - Huddersfield

Harry Souttar - Stoke City

LEAGUE ONE

Ryan Edwards - Burton Albion

Bailey Wright - Sunderland

Ben Folami - Ipswich

Jordan Lyden - Swindon Town

Callum Elder - Hull City

Ryan Williams - Portsmouth

Ashley Maynard-Brewer - Charlton Athletic

Reagan Ogle - Accrington Stanley

Cameron Burgess - Accrington Stanley

LEAGUE TWO

George Blackwood - Oldham Athletic

John Iredale - Cambridge United

Tom Beadling - Barrow

Source AAP