Left back Alex Gersbach feels right at home in Socceroos camps these days as he reunites with mentors from his Sydney FC days.
The Rosenborg defender has chalked up back-to-back international camps and has enjoyed some regular game-time with his Norwegian outfit.
It’s finally coming together for the six-capped international who is hoping Monday’s friendly clash against Kuwait can deliver a win for his former Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold and fitness guru Andrew Clark.
“Obviously it’s Arnie’s first game as head coach, so it’s really important to us as a team to start the new phase well,” Gersbach said.
“It’s really nice coming into camp and being around familiar faces. Obviously Arnie played a massive role in my development as a 17 and 18-year-old at Sydney FC.
“To be able to work with him again is fantastic and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
“And Clarky as well, I think he’s one of the best in the world at what he does. To come into camp, and for Clarky to be looking after you physically, it really makes a difference.
“It’s going to be a tough test against Kuwait on Monday night and we’ve got a good week in Dubai now, building up to it…hopefully we get a result.”
The 21-year-old has endured some tough time for club and country: A six month absence from the national team plus a battling loan spell with French outfit Lens this year which culminated in a relegation fight and a run to the quarter final of the French Cup.
That deal, which ended in May, gave Gersbach week-in, week-out football – something he’s got a taste of just recently at Rosenborg.
“It’s nice to be back on the park again,” he said.
“I’ve played four games in the last 10 days or something. The other left back’s injured his hamstring a little bit, so a little opportunity for me to come in and show what I can do.
“We had some important games as well, unfortunately we didn’t do too well. We lost the derby away from home against Molde (1-0), which was quite disappointing.
“And obviously we played against Leipzig at home in the Europa League and they’re a different class, one of the top teams in the Bundesliga. It’s hard for us to match them.
"We really have to be at the top of our game to get a result against a team like that and we weren’t quite there. They ran away with it in the end (3-1).”
He may be wiser and more experienced, but Gersbach says “not much has changed” in his style of play from the 17-year-old who stormed into the Sydney first team.
And, if he gets on the park against the Socceroos, he says fans will know exactly what to expect.
“I’m an attacking left fullback as most fullbacks are these days,” he said.
“I like to get forward and contribute but at the end of the day I’m a defender, so I want to keep it tight at the back and go forward when I can.”