Socceroos defender Degenek revels in Champions League 'dream come true'


Socceroos defender Milos Degenek believes the chance to play in the UEFA Champions League is set to make him a more complete player and insists it will only help him secure a starting role for Australia under new coach Graham Arnold.

Degenek will be out to build on his impressive start to the season after joining the Socceroos training camp in Dubai ahead of their international against Kuwait.

The 24-year-old has gone from strength to strength this season since joining boyhood club Red Star Belgrade, playing 19 matches this season including nine matches in the Champions League - seven of which were qualifiers.

It has been this chance to play in arguably the world's best club competition which has been one of the biggest highlights for the former Yokohama F. Marinos player with his Red Star side drawn in a group of death against Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli.

"The Champions League is a dream come true. Club-wise it is the pinnacle and it is something I have always dreamed about," Degenek said.

"Playing against top opposition can only help you as a player.

"In our group, we have two of the top three teams in Europe which is good because you see where they're at and how they play, which can then be implemented into your own training.

"I’ve been trying to pay attention to things like that and most of all it’s just a good challenge to take on the world's best players."

The Serbian-born Degenek said his move to Belgrade has felt like a homecoming and has played a big part in his recent impressive form.

"I'm back home. My family is there and most of my relatives which has been very good and has helped me feel much more comfortable," he said.

"I've played in 19 or 20 games so far and I have felt like I've been playing good football.

"I'm excited to be back in the Socceroos camp and hopefully I can continue my form with the national team."

Despite being named in Bert van Marwijk's Socceroos squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Degenek did not see any game time in Russia and hopes to earn a bigger role under Arnold.

With the Socceroos' AFC Asian Cup defence on the horizon, Degenek is confident Australia are in good shape to taste success once again.

“It’s been very positive, we’ve approached it in a very good manner … we look forward to a good attacking way of football,” he said.

“We’re not taking any backward steps and we expect to have a very good four-year cycle towards the next World Cup, a very successful one.

“We expect to dominate countries here in Asia and the world.”