Cisak stoked with Socceroos selection

Former Polish youth international, Alex Cisak, says it is a huge honour to be called up to the Socceroos.

Born in Poland and raised in Australia, Cisak was one of the new names picked for the next two World Cup qualifiers. The Leyton Orient goalkeeper, who has played for the Young Socceroos before, admits he was a “bit surprised” to be get the nod.

“I’m very happy and honoured to be called up for Australia, it’s a big opportunity for me,” the 26-year-old told FourFourTwo.

“It’s a very proud moment for me and my family as well – I can’t wait to get started. It was a bit of a surprise to be fair and I’m just happy I’ve got the opportunity now.

“I just want to impress when I’m out there and get started with the boys.”

Cisak has been playing in England for a variety of different clubs for the past decade after leaving Tasmania as a teenager. He joined League Two club Orient from relegated Premier League side Burnley at the end of last season in a bid for regular game-time.

Cisak has been monitored by Ange Postecoglou and his coaching staff, including goalkeeping coach Tony Franken, for some time.

“Last season Tony kept in touch and he did say to me you need to be playing and if I did start playing I’d be a better chance to get called up,” he said.

“That’s what I’ve done now, moved on from Burnley to get football and it’s helped me out this time. I just need to be playing now. Hopefully there’s some more call-ups in the future as well.”

Cisak was one of three keepers named in the Socceroos squad for the matches against Bangladesh and Tajikistan, along with number one Mat Ryan and Adam Federici, with Mitch Langerak injured.

“Maty Ryan’s played at a World Cup and moved to Valencia, he’s a very good goalkeeper,” he said.

“Adam’s at Bournemouth now but I don’t think I’ve played against him. Obviously they’re both very good goalkeepers and I look forward to working with them.”

Cisak has been watching the progress of the Socceroos over the past year and has the ambition of being on the plane to Russia in three years’ time.

“I watched the World Cup and the Asian Cup as well and you can see the success they got there, which is brilliant,” he said.

“Ange is trying to change the philosophy, trying to play from the back and make it nice attacking football, more possession-based which is good for Australian football. He’s bought a lot of youngsters in which can only be a good thing as well.

“Anyone wants to represent their country at a World Cup, that’s a long-term target for me. It’s all up to me now to play football. There’s a lot of very good goalkeepers that Australia has at its disposal as well so it’s a good challenge for me to look forward to.”

Cisak has five caps for the Young Socceroos, accrued in 2008 and 2009, and was a member of the Australian team that went to the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt.

The South Hobart junior didn’t play in the tournament, where his Aussie teammates included now current Socceroos Ryan McGowan, Tommy Oar and Aaron Mooy.

“I played in the Under-20s so I know how much of an honour it is to play for your country. It’s the pinnacle of sport really to represent your country,” he said.

“It’s going to be a great experience for me to be involved and around the squad.”

Cisak may have been born in Krakow but the 1.91m (6’ 3”) keeper has always considered himself Australian.

“I was born in Poland and moved to Australia when I was two,” he said.

“I played for Poland, I think it was Under-17s – I played early on but…. I’ve lived (in Australia) for so long, it feels like home to me.

“You can see on Twitter that I’ve been following the Aussies in the Ashes, and unfortunately we’ve lost. I’m patriotic and it’s a huge honour to represent Australia and I just can’t wait to do that.”