Former Melbourne City attacker Iain Ramsay is set to make his international debut for the Philippines in their World Cup qualifier on Thursday.
Ramsay, who was released by City at the end of the 2014-2015 season, was born in Australia but is eligible to play for the Philippines through his mother.
The attacker, who has made over 120 A-League appearances for Sydney FC, Adelaide United and City, is looking forward to getting on the park for the Azkals against Bahrain.
“They’ve been in touch with me for a couple of years,” Ramsay told FourFourTwo.
“The coach has been in regular contact with myself. After the Asian Cup that just went by I decided to give international football a crack. The Philippines will be part of the World Cup qualifiers so I feel it’s a good time for me to be involved."
The Philippines play Bahrain on June 11 at the Philippine Sports Stadium and then take on Yemen on June 16 in Qatar.
The Filipinos have been placed in Group H with Uzbekistan, Yemen, Bahrain and North Korea.
“It’s been good so far, the camp started on June 2 for myself,” Ramsay said.
“I’m just trying to get used to my teammates and gel as much as I can into the team. I’m looking forward to it. Regardless of what country you represent, it’s always an honour to play international football.
“I’m just going to relish this moment. Obviously it will be against tough opposition but it’s something that will be a great test for myself and the rest of the team. I’m excited for it.
“I’ve been quite impressed so far, there’s definitely some talented individuals in the team.”
Ramsay is a free agent after spending the past two seasons with Melbourne City.
He said he will make a decision on his future club in the next week.
“There’s a few clubs that are interested in me, and Asia has been quite tempting as well,” Ramsay said.
“We’ll wait and see where I end up. I’m open to staying in the A-League or moving overseas, it just depends on what suits me best.”
Ramsay made 20 A-League appearances last season, many in the unfamiliar position of left-back.
He said he took a “massive gamble” by agreeing to play in defence.
“It’s a position that I’ve never really played much at all in my career, I’m known in the A-League as a winger,” Ramsay said.
“I tried hard in the pre-season to try and learn that role as quickly as I could. At times it definitely wasn’t easy. I think after the break with the Asian Cup I got only a taste of playing as a winger again and I was definitely starting to enjoy it.
“I signed under John Aloisi and then John van ’t Schip came and sometimes as a signed player before a coach comes in you’re either in the plans or you might not be in their plans so much. In my case I was happy in the end to part ways with club.
“I definitely enjoyed my time with the club but it was a massive gamble to change positions in that last year. You live and you learn I guess.”
Ramsay is expecting to be central figure in the Azkals' bid to qualify for their first World Cup.
“Before coming here the coach told me I’d be a major part of his plans,” he said.
“I’m here to help the team as much as I can. I feel I can bring a lot to the team."comments