October 14, 2018 / 7:13 AM / in a month

Soccer: Forgotten man Troisi seeks Socceroos return for Asian Cup defence

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - James Troisi holds a special place in the annals of Australian soccer as the man who sealed the nation’s maiden Asian Cup title in 2015, so missing the Socceroos’ World Cup campaign was a bitter pill to swallow.

Troisi scored the winner in the 2015 final against South Korea and was in most of former coach Ange Postecoglou’s squads for the World Cup qualifiers.

But Postecoglou’s replacement Bert van Marwijk saw no use for the 30-year-old Melbourne Victory midfielder for the game’s biggest stage, despite naming him in a preliminary 26-man squad.

Three months after Australia were dumped out of the group phase in Russia, Troisi has put that disappointment behind him and sees another chance to shine at the Asian showpiece, which kicks off in the United Arab Emirates in January, under new boss Graham Arnold.

“At the time it’s disappointing,” said Troisi, who played the 2014 World Cup under Postecoglou.

“I had four friendly games and I didn’t play once so the opportunity wasn’t there to impress (Van Marwijk).

“I’m big enough and grown up enough to move on.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to play in the Olympics, Asian Cup, World Cup. Another World Cup would have been nice but it wasn’t meant to be.”

As the Socceroos prepare to kick off a new era in an away friendly against Kuwait on Monday, Troisi will be preparing for the first game of Victory’s A-League title defence, a derby against Melbourne City on Saturday.

Like most Australia-based players, he was overlooked for Arnold’s first squad and training camp in Turkey but he feels there is still time to stake his claim ahead of Asian Cup warmups against South Korea and Lebanon in November.

Familiarity with Arnold, who coached him at Olympic level over a decade ago, might also help.

“He took me to the Beijing Olympics, and I know him. He lives in Australia and can see us week in, week out,” Troisi told local media.

“That’s fine by me. The most important thing is to perform well, week in, week out and the rest is up to the coach.

“You can be the best player in the world but if you don’t fit into the system, it doesn’t happen.”

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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