The Burton Albion midfielder was the revelation of this international window and capped a strong week with the opening goal against the UAE
Socceroos midfielder Jackson Irvine labelled his maiden goal for Australia “an incredibly special moment” after scoring the opener in Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over United Arab Emirates.
Irvine chose the perfect moment to open his goal-scoring account in green and gold, heading home the Socceroos’ first goal at Allianz Stadium.
In a rich vein of form for Championship side Burton Albion, Irvine connected with a James Troisi cross after just six minutes and put Australia ahead in his second straight start for the national team.
“To get us off the mark with a goal was perfect,” Irvine told Socceroos.com.au post-match.
“We’ve shown how lethal we can be from set plays over the course of this qualification campaign.”
The 24-year-old was buzzing: “Absolutely delighted. Such a proud moment, especially to do it on home soil in front of my family. An incredibly special moment.”
Both goals against the UAE came from Troisi’s dead-ball delivery and the Socceroos have scored their past three from corners.
But Irvine insisted Australia coach Ange Postecoglou isn’t paying particular attention to set pieces.
“We focus on set plays massively but not more than we focus on the rest of our play,” he said.
“Both corners come from the football we like to play. However the goals come, they’re all from the training ground, they’re by design. Nothing we do happens by chance.”
Having also started in last week’s 1-1 draw with Iraq, Irvine looked comfortable in Postecoglou’s new 3-2-4-1 formation and insists the side isn’t letting any external pressure get to them.
“We just keep going about our business the same that we have been,” the Melbourne-born midfielder said.
“There’s been a lot of white noise from the outside this week for us but we’ve all been calm and focusing on what we’re trying to do.
“We played three at the back at Burton for the first half of the season – formations are formations, it doesn’t take away from our style, the principals of what we try to do.
“Whatever shape we play we know the principals stay the same.”