Geria, Degenek: Ange is taking us places

Socceroo debutants Jason Geria, who won his first national team cap, and Milos Degenek who made his starting debut, have revealed their delight at playing in Saturday night’s 1-0 friendly win over Greece.

Geria’s first game for his country was especially memorable as it was under Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou that he played his first domestic club game for Melbourne Victory in 2013.

The dynamic fullback says that winning his first national team cap under his first professional club coach was no twist of fate.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said after the win at ANZ Stadium.

“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do since I was very young and for it to happen in Sydney, on my home soil in front of a crowd like this, with such a special bunch of guys – I’m just very happy.”

Geria added: “It’s no coincidence I keep encountering him (Postecoglou) in my career. I’m just fortunate to be able to be a part of it and to play under him. The way he is trying to get this team to play is just a great brand of football. I think it’s really going to take us places and be huge.”

Throughout the game Geria held his own against speedy Greek left winger Konstantinos Staflydis and the 23-year- old revealed that the Socceroos boss’s instructions helped calm any pre-game concerns.

“Ange said just to enjoy it,” he said.

“He said to stay switched on but to also just relax and appreciate it like I was playing a game for Victory and to not make the occasion bigger than it actually was.

“I was just worried about my winger. They do push their full backs up and it was a factor in some stages. Overall, in terms of who dominated the game and who had most of the play, I think we took the game to them. And I think we got our just rewards in the end by getting the win.”

Meanwhile Degenek, 22, who made his starting debut for Australia last night after coming on as a substitute in the friendly against England said that playing at home was an ambition fulfilled.

“Playing football for Australia in Australia is a dream come true,” he said. “I feel comfortable, because the things that the coach tells us makes us comfortable, and the players that I play with make my job a whole lot easier and I enjoy it a lot more.

“This was probably one of the biggest (games) I’ve played in my life. There were good nerves just things that were normal before when you go out for a warm up and see the fans. After that they just died out and then it was concentration that led the way, and me just wanting to play well. 

In the post-match press conference Postecoglou made sure to make special mention of the defensive pair.

“I thought both Jason and Milos were excellent,” Postecoglou said.

“We’ve thrown some of these guys some pretty big challenges for their debuts or starting debuts. I thought both boys were really good tonight.

“(Greece) had a couple of chances from crosses but we didn’t really have a save to make tonight. Both those boys contributed. They’ll just be better for the experience and I think it just adds more depth to key areas of the park for us.”