Socceroos still the goal for Djite

It has been over four years since Bruce Djite played for Australia and the 27-year-old knows even showing good form will not guarantee him a recall to the Socceroos line-up.

Players like Djite, who haven’t played for the Socceroos for a while, are now on notice.

A decent run of form may get you a recall, just like Nathan Burns who got some game time in the Asian Cup and is a former Adelaide United team-mate of Djite's.

“It’s fantastic to see so many of my mates there now,” Djite said.

“To play for the national team is a massive thing, they are doing very well at the minute and any Australian player has to be aspiring to be in contention for that squad because that’s the pinnacle.

"Ange (Postecoglou) has shown in the selections he’s made recently that if you are doing well and if you fit in his plans then he’s not afraid to give guys a shot - doesn’t matter about the age, doesn’t matter about who they are playing, he just wants the best for the national team, and that’s a good motivator not just for myself but for all Australian players playing all over the world.

“If you play well Ange is the coach that is going to pick up the phone and invite you into a camp. If you’re doing well but other people are doing better than you, you are going to miss out. There is a lot competition there as there should be - it’s the national team."

Djite was first picked for the Socceroos three days before he turned 21, touted as the next Mark Viduka as all young strikers are.

Djite went on to make a further eight appearances for the green and gold and looked back on that high water mark of his career with reverence.

“Just being in camp with that golden era of players was unbelievable," he said.

“Being involved in those World Cup qualifiers, playing a bit part here and there, as a young player the Mark Vidukas, the Harry Kewells, the Brett Emertons, these names that we no longer have in the game, besides your Timmys ( Tim Cahill) and your Breshs (Marc Bresciano) that are still there playing.

“It was just surreal at times having breakfast with guys that you’ve only ever seen on TV and going into camp regularly with that calibre player. It was the pinnacle of my short career at that time.”

He added: “I loved getting the call up. I loved it when (Socceroos team manager) Gary Moretti sent the e-mail through, it was a fantastic moment and at the time to share it with Lucas Neill, Harry Kewell, Mile Jedinak, James Troisi, Michael Petkovic, who were all playing in Turkey at the same time was fantastic for us, travelling together.

"They are the sort of moments that you cherish and no-one can take that away from you.”

If Djite can continue to produce goals like the one he scored against the Western Sydney Wanderers in the last round of the A-League then a Socceroos recall may not be far off.

Djite’s goal helped Adelaide United get their first win in three games, and it helped the Reds push up the A-League ladder, and the FFA Cup winners remain on course to record a history-making treble.

“Winning the (FFA) Cup was step one,” said Djite.

“Being the inaugural winners is something that no-one can ever take away from you, it was a fantastic competition and we were serious from the start, and I think we deserved the cup at the end of the day.

“It’s great to have that competition. We need to applaud the FFA for creating the competition and implementing it and building such a great structure, bring those other clubs in, the Marconis, the Adelaide Citys the Sydney Olympics of the football world.

“It would be great to win the league and the ultimate would be to win the grand final and we are in with a shot of doing all three of those this season.”

Djite can speak three languages - English, French and Turkish.

But it’s Spanish that Djite is looking to learn next due to the ever-growing contingent of Spanish players and coaches that are at Adelaide United at the moment.

“There is a lot of Spaniards,” said Djite.

“I have to go to training with them all every day, my Spanish is not too good. The music in the change rooms is in Spanish, my car ride is always in Spanish as well.

“I’m speaking Spanish and they’re speaking English we’re learning off each other I guess."

From the time Djite broke through on the Australian football scene he was a well-spoken young man and a bit more intelligent than your average footballer.

Now at 27, Djite is an executive on the board of Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and is studying a bachelor of business at university.

And when he heads to Sydney he hangs out with his ”boys”, who are investment bankers from Merrill Lynch.

“I think it’s important to educate one’s self and be intelligent,” said Djite.

“I’m very interested in a lot of things; the media, I’m also interested in things to do with finance, my brother is an investment banker.

“I’m someone who in all walks of life who wants to be the best. I wanted to be the best footballer I can be, and football doesn’t last forever right, so you've got to think, it doesn’t matter how much money you make in that game. I want to test myself with something else.

“If there an opportunity in the media I would love to do that, work in an investment banking firm I would love to do that.

“These are jobs where the hours are long and the work is hard and I like to work hard. I think it comes from my dad. Everybody in my family is quite successful and in their chosen field it all comes from hard work.

“Picking up the pen is much easier than picking up a brick. It’s much harder work manual labour than some other jobs, I’m (also) interested in numbers.

“It would be great to be a sports administrator for the Football Federation of Australia or at Adelaide United. I do harbour goals to do things when football is finished. It takes time but you've got to put the work in.”

Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Check out Episode Five of his latest Football Snobcast: The Asian Cup Experience with co-host Rob Toddler