Fleetwood Town defender Harry Souttar has praised the quality of players in the Australia set-up as he bids to build on a dream start to his international career .
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The on-loan centre-half made a goalscoring debut in Thursday’s 5-0 thrashing of Nepal in a World Cup qualifier at Canberra.
It means that a week before his 21st birthday, Souttar has high hopes of retaining his place for Tuesday’s qualifier against Chinese Taipei in Taiwan.
The Socceroos squad features players based in England, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Saudi Arabia and Japan, to list just a few.
And Souttar, who is spending the season at Highbury on loan from Stoke City, sees similarities between his national side and Fleetwood.
Before linking up with Australia for the two qualifiers, Souttar said: “There’s certainty quality there. There are boys playing the Champions League and the Premier League. They’re not playing there by luck. They’re very, very good players.
“The culture is similar to here, that’s why it’s helped me settle in.
“Everyone is down to earth, everyone is great and working towards the same goal.
“It’s just about hard work really and that’s similar to here. Everyone is buying into the same ethos.
“When the opportunity was there I had to take it.
“It’s a chance to play with world- class players.”
Australia head coach Graham Arnold spoke about the new addition to the senior set -up too, predicting that the Aussie fans would really take to Souttar in the way Town fans have.
Souttar has faced some criticism for his allegiance to the Socceroos – he has opted to represent his mother’s homeland, having played for his native Scotland at junior levels – but insists he’s only concentrated on what’s right for him.
“I’ve been with the Australia U23s and the first team,” he said, and we’ll see where it leads us.
“I don’t think I’ve got to prove to anyone that it’s the right choice for me. I know it’s the right choice for me.
“I know I’ve got the backing of my family. With my brother playing for Scotland (Heart of Midlothian centre-back John), it’s nice we can chat about it and chat about different things.
“I know I’ve made my mum proud and that’s all I wanted to do.
“A friendly or something would be good for the family but there’s a long road ahead.
Australia have won both qualifiers to date, Souttar heading their third goal in the first half against Nepal.
He was celebrating a second after half-time but that was ultimately ruled to be an own goal.
Even so, it was a delightful debut for Souttar, who added: “You can tell by the smile on my face it’s a dream come true.
“It’s been amazing. When I came over here concentrating on the game, it was just all about the clean sheet – get a clean sheet and let the strikers do the rest.
“So I’m absolutely delighted to get the two goals and the win as well. It’s a proud moment for me, especially for my mum as well.”