Australia are on ascendant arc which is likely to see them take a stranglehold on World Cup qualification, according in to inform midfielder Jackson Irvine.
The Socceroos are coming off ten successive wins heading into next month’s scheduled visit of Saudi Arabia to Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium.
And a buoyant Irvine - who started in the recent 3-0 victory over China and 1-0 success in Vietnam - sees only green lights ahead on the road to Qatar 2022.
“Against China was as well as we’ve played in recent times,” Irvine told FTBL.
“Some of our attacking football was exciting and we could have had a few more.
“It was the best performance I’ve been a part of in qualifying over the past few years.
“Against Vietnam it was more about the result, especially coming off the back of playing in a world class air conditioned stadium (in Qatar).
“We’ve struggled to overcome these hurdles in the past against teams like Thailand, and to get a result at below our best was still pleasing.”
Irvine, who has made two appearances for second tier German outfit St Pauli since his switch from Hibernian, says he’s never been a part of a Socceroos squad with “so much depth”.
“The competition all over the pitch is simply huge,” he added.
“At left back, for example, you’ve got Aziz Behich and Brad Smith who have dominated that spot but Callum Elder has been doing really well at Hull in the Championship and he came in for his debut (against Vietnam).
“We’ve always been strong in midfield and with Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic returning that’s been a fantastic boost.
“Then we’ve got Ajdin Hrustic playing every week in the Bundesliga (Eintracht Frankfurt), Riley McGree in the Championship (Birmingham City) and Jimmy Jeggo at Aris in Greece.
“Overall, it feels like the strongest squad I’ve been involved with.
“Everybody is buying in to the winning mentality we’ve been building over the past two years.”
A first choice striker’s role is still up for grabs under Graham Arnold’s reign, with Jamie Maclaren staying put in Australia for the past two games due to quarantine issues, while Mitch Duke and Adam Taggart took the mantle, with support out wide from Martin Boyle and Awer Mabil.
“Taggs is tireless, his work rate is relentless and he’s a nightmare for defenders,” added Irvine.
“Dukey has made himself a massive part of the squad, especially coming on and scoring (against China), and we’ve Jamie and Lecks (Mathew Leckie) to come back.
“In the first game Martin Boyle showed why he’s been player of the month in Scotland … he’s been absolutely on fire.
“And Awer is always incredibly reliable in those areas.”
Irvine is revelling in Germany at a club whose progressive off field persona is in sync with his own view of the world.
They sit fifth after six games and Irvine considers promotion a very real prospect.
“Being here is something fresh and new for me and I feel like I’ve found a club and a city that really suits me,” he said.
“It’s been well documented that this is a good fit for me off the pitch as well as on it.
“I’m buying into the culture of the club - that’s one of the reasons that drew me here.
“They don’t shy away from major (political and philosophical) issues and I respect that.
“All that stuff is well and good but the club signed me as a footballer, not an activist and I’m here to do a job on the pitch.
“We have an in incredible stadium with a great atmosphere, and we have a strong squad capable of doing exciting things this year.”