Nathan Burns making up for lost time

In-form Nathan Burns says he is loving football at the moment as he reaches new heights for club and country.

Burns is arguably enjoying the best season of his career, after winning the Asian Cup with the Socceroos and starring in Australia’s 2-2 draw with Germany.

The forward is second in the race for the A-League Golden Boot, with 13 goals behind Marc Janko’s 16, and his club Wellington Phoenix are top of the competition.

It’s far cry from recent spells in Korea and Greece, which were marked by injury and little time on the pitch.

“That’s football isn’t it, it’s all about momentum,” Burns said after the Germany friendly.

“If you’re fit and playing you get picked for the next one and then that’s how it all rolls. It’s just when you’re in a bit of a slump and you’ve got an injury, you’ve got to pick yourself back up.

Burns started in the three-man forward line against the Germans along with Mathew Leckie and James Troisi. The trio combined well and created several great attacking opportunities, with Troisi bagging a goal.

“We play slightly different – obviously we don’t have Timmy (Cahill) – so we’ve got three probably agile players in myself, Troisi and Leckie,” Burns said.

“We know they’re big centre halves so we had to keep on the move and I think our movement caused them a few problems.

“It’s good to be back out there. Obviously I played with all the boys in the academies, so to be around the Socceroo camp again is fantastic.

“I’m just enjoying every moment of it, because, you never know when you’re last game could be. Obviously Ange likes to have us on edge and he basically says no one’s guaranteed a spot so it’s good. You’ve got to enjoy every moment.”

Burns has been one of the top performers in the A-League this season, both scoring and creating goals, and now the Wellington winger is replicating that form on the international stage.

The 26-year-old said the Socceroos are building on their successful Asian Cup tilt but they can get better.

“We played exactly the same way as we played in the Asian Cup,” Burns said.

“We have a very ‘Aussie’ style now in the way we press and we hunt in packs. I think it’s very effective, we help each other out in defence and we all attack together.

“It showed how we dominated in the Asian Cup, now we want to take on the world’s best and see how we go against them. I think we held our own.

“We’ve got heaps to work on with different players always coming in. When we come into this team we have a high intensity so when we go back to our clubs we’ve just got to keep those levels up. It’s really difficult to have one off games like this.”

Burns believes the Socceroos’ display against the world champions on Thursday, and their Asian Cup victory, means the national team is starting to earn more respect, both at home and abroad.

“It took a long time to get a bit of credit in the Asian Cup,” he said.

“The media weren’t really seeing how good the football was we were playing until the semi-finals, so it’s good to get a bit of praise for our ability because we’re all working hard out there.”