Irvine 'jumped' at Championship chance

Socceroo Jackson Irvine says he jumped at the opportunity to play English Championship football and believes it’s a major step forward in his career.

Irvine, 23, penned a three-year deal with newly promoted Burton Albion on a whirlwind Friday after two seasons with Scottish Premier League outfit Ross County.

The Melbourne-born midfielder received a phonecall at 11am about Burton’s bid and flew from Scotland for a medical that day, signing his contract in the evening.

Burton had previously bid for Irvine, but he said the move happened fast after the second bid, yet he never had any hesitation.

“As soon as I heard of the interest, the opportunity to play in the Championship was going to be one I was keen to make happen,” Irvine told FourFourTwo. 

“I see it as the next progression in my career and a really big step forward. I’m looking forward to the test.”

He added: “I was more than willing to jump at the chance to sign a longer-term contract and be able to settle a bit more than last couple of years. 

“That’s something that I think will help my football, the idea of having a more central base.”

The Championship is well known for its physicality and hectic schedule but Irvine is confident the past few years in Scotland will hold him in good stead.

“I played 52 games last season, including internationals, so it was a wild season of games,” he said. 

“This is going to be even more difficult with the pace of the game being so much higher, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Irvine is confident the move will be good for his Socceroos prospects too, pointing to the example of players like Bailey Wright and Massimo Luongo.

“I think it’ll do me a world of good,” he said. “Ange (Postecoglou) has always said that playing regularly will get you a place in his squad. 

“I’ve found myself in and out over the last couple of years. I feel making this next step, if I can play regularly, will hopefully cement one of those midfield spots for myself.”

Despite playing the second half of Burton’s 3-0 friendly win over Stoke City on Saturday, the ex-Celtic man is aware he won’t walk straight into the starting XI once the Championship starts on August 6.

“It’s by no means going to be easy. It’s going to be extremely tough,” he said.

“I’m going to have to up my game to a higher level than I’ve ever had to reach before. I’m ready to complete for my place.

“There’s boys who’ve been part of this squad for a few years, so they all know each other and how they play. 

“To try and synch yourself into that isn’t going to be easy, but I’ve come in at a good time with three weeks to go until the season starts. 

“We’ve got a number of friendlies to play and I was part of the friendly on Saturday against Stoke which was good to break the ice. 

“It gives me a bit of time to adjust to the tempo of the league and the team. Hopefully I can play my part within the season.”

Burton open their Championship season away to neighbours Nottingham Forest on Saturday August 6.