Tarek Elrich waited 28 years to make his Socceroos debut and he’s hoping an upturn in Adelaide United’s form can help him re-claim his spot in the side.
The Reds full-back was left out of Australia’s squad for last month’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh.
Elrich made his Australia debut in March in the 0-0 draw with Macedonia and was included in all three of the subsequent squads for World Cup qualifying before missing last month’s matches.
Ryan McGowan got the nod at right back against Tajikistan, while Perth Glory’s Josh Risdon impressed in Bangladesh in the position.
Sydney-born Elrich said one or two ordinary games and Adelaide’s poor start to the A-League season were costly for him, but was determined not to let his national team dream slip easily.
“I worked ever so hard to get there in the first place and I feel it was taken away from me pretty easily,” Elrich told FourFourTwo.
“I was 28 years old when I debuted. I had to have the greatest season of my career to get a call-up which is understandable, it is the national team.
“I feel like with our season starting recently, we’re deep into the qualifiers, after one or two games you don’t play at your best it’s taken away from you.
“That’s not blaming anyone, but myself more than anyone.”
Elrich played his part as Adelaide ended their winless start to the A-League with a 1-0 triumph over Perth Glory on Sunday.
The ex-Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney Wanderers defender was delighted to keep a clean sheet and hopeful the win can be the trigger for success.
Elrich pointed to the club’s slow start under Josep Gombau two years ago as a reason to believe things can change quickly under new boss Guillermo Amor.
“It’s no different to when Josep took over,” he said.
“It took us a good 10 rounds to find that confidence and understand his philosophy. I think this is no different.
“We don’t want to get too carried away and say we’re now going to win every game. But we’re confident whoever we play, if we stick to the game plan, we can win games.”
Elrich said Amor had maintained confidence in his players throughout their eight-game winless run.
On the other hand, the 28-year-old conceded he had questioned his own form at times.
“When you’re in a good team with good players and you’re winning, it looks a lot easier,” he said.
“I’m in the same team, but the results haven’t been that great so I tend to question myself and say ‘am I playing the same game?’.
“But nothing changes for me. I’ve been working as hard as I did last season.”
He insisted his Socceroos selection hadn’t altered his approach mentally and said an upturn in Adelaide’s results would aid his bid to return to Ange Postecoglou’s side.
“Hopefully getting the monkey off the back, we can build on that and then the confidence will come back in,” Elrich said.
“As a defender, we haven’t conceded a goal from open play in the last three games, so that helps.”
The Reds host Sydney FC on Friday night.comments