Sydney FC’s Alex Wilkinson has answered the call of his country by accepting the chance to join the Socceroos for their crucial FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying match against Japan this Thursday night.
Wilkinson will head into camp today ahead of the match at Accor Stadium.
The Sky Blues captain will be part of the camp for the Japan match after Head Coach Steve Corica agreed to put country interests before club.
He will re-join Sydney FC on Friday for an Isuzu A-League clash with Newcastle Jets at MacDonald Jones Stadium.
“Arnie called me late last night and said would you mind coming in just for this Japan game to bolster the squad,” said Wilkinson.
“I had no hesitation. Obviously it had to get cleared with the club first as we have a game on Friday, but you are always keen to play for your country so whenever the call comes you want to take it.
“It’s always an honour to get called up so excited about that and looking forward to catching up with a few guys I haven’t seen in a while which will be nice.”
The centre half was last part of a Socceroos squad when they played England at the Sunderland Stadium of Light six years ago, and admits he thought his time had gone.
“I never thought I’d be involved again but it’s always nice to be thought of.
“It’s a big game for the boys so it will be nice to be around it and contribute to getting a win.
“It’s exciting, the boys have to win both games in this window, so that starts with Japan and we have a really good record on home soil.
“I’ve been around a long time now and in crucial games it always helps to have experienced heads so I’ll help in any way I can.
“But all the players in camp have carved out successful careers on their own so shouldn’t need anything from me and I will just play my part.”
Wilkinson joins fellow Sky Blues Rhyan Grant and Andrew Redmayne who joined up with the Socceroos on Sunday.
He replaces Central Coast Mariners defender Kye Rowles who has tested positive to Covid-19.
Australia will head to Saudi Arabia following the Japan match to face the current Group B leaders next Wednesday morning in Jeddah.
Wilkinson has played 16 times for the Socceroos helping Australia win the AFC Asian Cup in 2015, and playing all three games of the 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil.