Dashing defender Rhyan Grant has welcomed his selection tussle with Fran Karacic and says it points to improved depth within the Socceroos.
Sydney FC’s Grant, 30, has long been Graham Arnold’s first-choice right-back but Karacic, five years his junior, has provided genuine competition after his rapid rise with Brescia.
“Having a bit of depth in every position is is always good. It’s a headache for the coaches but obviously it’s great for competition and really pushes players forward,” Grant said.
“For me personally, having Fran in there and doing really well is good competition for me. He’s been doing really well and whenever he’s played he’s put his best foot forward.
“It’s just up to me now to make sure I play to my best ability and do what I’m told and when it comes to training, really show what I can do and hopefully I can be part of the starting XI.
“If not, I love just being in here amongst the team and seeing the boys again and trying to do our best to qualify for a World Cup.”
After playing China and Vietnam, Grant stayed overseas to avoid hotel quarantine between international windows, training with teammate Martin Boyle at Scottish club Hibernian FC before games against Oman and Japan.
“I’ve always been at Sydney and known no different so for me on a personal levels it was a very cool experience to challenge myself and see what it’s like over there,” he said.
“Edinburgh, the city’s unreal … so I had a good time there, and then the training was top notch too.
“So not only did it help me avoid quarantine back here and give me the opportunity to be involved in the camp afterwards with the Socceroos, it gave me a chance to experience something different.”
Grant has since completed hotel quarantine and returned to Sydney FC but said he’d felt refreshed by his time abroad.
The Socceroos are three points behind unbeaten leaders Saudi Arabia in group B, who they face in Thursday night’s crucial World Cup qualifier at CommBank Stadium.
Sydney local Grant relished the prospect of playing in front of a home crowd for the first time since October 2019.
“It is going to be a tough game, but we’re always confident whoever we play, whether it’s a home or away,” he said.
“But being at home really does give us that extra drive and that extra leg I suppose when it comes to really pushing to make sure we get the win.”