Josh Brilliante can play either defence or midfield.
Josh Brilliante can play either defence or midfield.

Brilliante embraces Mr Versatile Socceroos tag

JOSH Brillante is the first to admit he was surprised to see his name fall under Socceroos 'defenders' for the World Cup.

As one half of Sydney FC's central midfield supremos, there's no question he's found his preferred position.

But if it means a ticket to Russia four years after his Brazil near miss, the 25-year-old will more than happily play wherever he's asked to. And his previous experience as a right-back for Australia and the Newcastle Jets could be the critical factor.

 

When coach Bert van Marwijk named his provisional 32-man squad last week he said he picked Brillante for his potential in the notoriously problematic position. This week the Sky Blues workhorse survived the cull to 26 and will spend the next fortnight at an intensive training camp in Turkey showing van Marwijk why he deserves a chance on the world's biggest stage.

"I didn't really expect to be named in defence but it's a good sign for me," Brillante said.

"Obviously I've been playing in the midfield a lot at Sydney but in the past have played a bit of right-back, so it's good to have that versatility because I like playing right-back as well.

"I prefer midfield but over the years I've played both and enjoyed it.

"Under Ange with the Socceroos I played a bit of right-back, over in Italy and when I was at the Jets; so it's nearly half-half really.

"In the last camp I was playing right-back in a couple of training sessions so it wasn't foreign, it being an option.

"But for me it doesn't really matter.

"I just want to be on the park playing and even if that's left-back or striker I'll do it."

That's partly because Brillante knows the feeling of missing out, having come painfully close to making his World Cup debut four years ago.

Named in Ange Postecoglou's preliminary 30-man squad, the then 21-year-old was one of three players omitted in the first trim-down.

He was used in four friendlies later in 2014 but a lack of game time in Italy put him on the outer before finally being recalled for March's friendlies on the back of two stellar A-League seasons.

Josh Brilliante has five caps for the Socceroos.
Josh Brilliante has five caps for the Socceroos.

"I was in this squad just before the Brazil World Cup so in that sense it does feel like a bit of a second chance," Brillante said.

"But football is always changing and there are always more opportunities ... you've just got to enjoy all the experiences.

"I'll be working really hard to make that final 23 because I missed out last time and I really want to be there this time."



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