The Aussie striker admits he’s not on the speed dial of national team coach Holger Osieck and will have to pull something remarkable out of the hat this season to earn his place.

Age may be encroaching but the fire burns just as fiercely – which is just as well. There’s precious little time to finesse his way into green and gold calculations.

Speaking from London, the 30-year-old explained his lingering 2014 World Cup aspirations and why a stint in the A-League is a possibility.

“I’ve never really heard (from Holger) or had a chat to him apart from the times I’ve made the phone call,” McDonald told

“But I have a goal of getting to the World Cup. At this point of time it’s really about shoving it in people’s faces and you can only do that by scoring goals.

"So I have to score goals. It’s as simple as that.

“For me it’s all about doing well for Millwall, getting as many goals as I can and obviously representing my country again and making the World Cup.

“Then, obviously, we’ve got the (2015) Asian Cup in Australia which would be a massive thing as well to come home and play in.”

With so much on the line, he may have hoped for a better start from his Championship club, who waited until round four to earn their first point of the season in a 2-2 drawn against Sheffield Wednesday.

Despite the inauspicious start McDonald sees Millwall as a potential dark horse. The weekend match provided good news for the experienced marksman, who put in his first 90 minute shift since moving from Middleborough.

Arriving at the Den with a slight niggle and underdone after playing no part in Boro’s preseason plans, it was a welcome hit out.

McDonald was Middlesbrough’s top scorer last season with 14 goals but was offloaded to ease a crippling wage bill.

New Lions manager Steve Lomas is now hoping to benefit from the Aussie’s desperation to be on the plane to Brazil.

"The great thing from our point of view is that he's hungry to do well,” Lomas told the club’s website.

“He's got his eye on next summer's World Cup for Australia and knows that to get into the squad he needs to be scoring goals for Millwall."

The free-scoring forward has a better than one every three games strike record at club level. But it is his 0 for 26 games return for country that remains a major obstacle to representative duty.

In the 2-1 win against Wales in 2011 he was industrious up front and instrumental in Australia’s two goals proving, at the very least, he’s handy at creating opportunities for others.

“I think that’s been a major hamper in my international career, hasn’t it?” McDonald said of his national team goal drought.

“The goals just haven’t come for me as yet. I like to say ‘as yet’. Obviously it plays on a lot of people’s minds.

“All I can do is keep my head down and try and work hard and hopefully something will happen for me where I can get back into that squad.

“I think my last game, apart from the Scotland one, was the Wales one and that was probably one of my best performances for my country, and I thought that was a turning point.

“And then I got that injury and Alex Brosque comes in and done exceptionally well and I’ve never really had a sniff since.”

McDonald has another point to prove after the devastation of his last-minute dumping from the 2010 World Cup squad. At the time then-coach Pim Verbeek decided the pocket-sized forward didn’t fit within his lone striker system. The player wants to show he’s learned a thing or two since then.

In recent years he’s been played up front, left of three and in behind and insists his game is always developing.

“It broke my heart last time because I played the qualifiers and done my bit and then obviously got told right at the very last moment before we went to South Africa that I wasn’t going to be joining the squad,” he said.

“It was tough to take and it was hard to watch at times, but it’s just one of those things. (Verbeek) took a couple of younger inexperienced players at the time. From that point of view it was a bit of a hurtful one.

“But that’s done and dusted. I love playing for my country which is why I’ve never wanted to say I’m chucking it in because I never give up either and I really want to be a part of this squad.”

Adding, tongue in cheek: “Maybe this time it will work the other way. I’ll take no part in the qualifiers and then I’ll get selected right at the death.”

There’s no doubt there is a lot riding on this 2013/14 campaign. Millwall has a strong Aussie connection, and both Tim Cahill and Socceroos skipper Lucas Neill carved out successful early careers at the south-east London club.

Another potential Socceroo aspirant, Shane Lowry, plays for The Lions and there is a healthy anticipation that the nuggetty striker from Down Under will bring something special.

“It’s probably put more expectation on me if I’m perfectly honest,” McDonald said of his Aussie roots.

“And obviously I’m one of those players they’ve brought in to make a difference but I thrive on that – I love being that guy. Hopefully that can bring out good things in me.”

On the subject of playing in the A-League one day the Melbourne-born striker’s views have mellowed. After leaving Australia at 16 – he was last home three years ago – he hasn’t ruled out returning for a shot at the fledgling comp.

“It’s a possibility,” he said. “My mindset has changed completely. I always said that I just didn’t feel that I would be coming back that way.

“But as I’m getting a little bit older, you know, I’m rethinking. It’s a long time since I’ve been home as well. The league itself has got a lot better as well.

"There’s some excellent youngsters there and it would be nice to come home and possibly experience that and help out if I could any youngsters that are looking to ply their trade in Europe.

“But you know I’ve got another year-and-a-half here at Millwall and that’s important to me. I’m just looking at this year and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Married to an English wife, the father of two (a three and one-year-old) is keen to extend his professional playing career for as long as possible.

“(My children) love coming to watch the games and watching Daddy,” he said.

“It’s a real nice thing. Hopefully I’ve got plenty more years ahead where they can watch me play and actually remember when Dad played football. That’s something special.”