Irvine: I thought Socceroos text was a wind-up

Jackson Irvine thought his first Socceroos call-up in almost two years was a “wind-up” initially.

The 22-year-old Ross County midfielder was included in Ange Postecoglou’s Australia squad for the upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh and Tajikistan last week.

It marked the Melbourne product’s first Socceroos call-up since October 2013 under previous coach Holger Osieck when he debuted against Canada.

Irvine hadn’t received any contact from the Socceroos set-up since that call-up, but is firmly in Aurelio Vidmar’s current Olyroos squad aiming to qualify for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Despite that, the former Celtic man admitted his senior call-up came as a complete surprise to him, to the point where he didn’t believe it was true.

“It was just a text message,” Irvine told FourFourTwo. “But because I haven’t worked with the Socceroos for so long, I didn’t have the phone number, so I thought it was a wind-up.

“It was a blank message saying “Jackson you’ve been called up for the Socceroos”, plus the details and all that, but I thought it might’ve been someone taking the mickey.

“Once I went into training the federation had let the club know the dates I’d be away so I knew it was real.”

Irvine has enjoyed two full seasons in the Scottish Premier League with Kilmarnock and Ross County on loan from Celtic over the past two years.

Ahead of this campaign he opted to sign a permanent deal with County with a view to establishing himself at a club for the betterment of his long-term prospects.

This season Irvine has played every league game for the Staggies and his good form has earned his call-up.

“It’s obviously a pretty special feeling again,” he said. “It’s a massive surprise, it wasn’t something I was expecting.

“I’ve established myself with the Olyroos over the last year but it’s good to know I’ve not fallen away from the Socceroos’ thoughts.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have a pretty good start to the season with Ross County. It just shows if you’re playing regularly and well, it’s enough to get you in his thoughts.”

Irvine has never worked with Postecoglou, let alone met the Australia boss, but is excited by the prospect.

“I just want to go there and take in the whole experience,” Irvine said.

“It was great to go away in the friendly games two years ago but to actually be involved in competitive qualifiers will be completely different.

“It’ll be a very different vibe around the squad. I’ve got no expectation going into this, I’m just looking to enjoy every second of it and try and impress in training.”