Barbarouses aiming high

The most important thing to Kosta Barbarouses is winning international caps, and at his new home with the Brisbane Roar the 20-year-old striker is getting all the opportunity he can handle to assert his claim for a spot in the All Whites squad.

The most important thing to Kosta Barbarouses is winning international caps, and at his new home with the Brisbane Roar the 20-year-old striker is getting all the opportunity he can handle to assert his claim for a spot in the All Whites squad.

A controversial omission from New Zealand's final 23-man World Cup squad, Barbarouses passed on an opportunity to stay with All Whites coach Ricki Herbert at Wellington, and instead took the opportunity to chase regular minutes with the new-look Roar side.

With the Phoenix, Barbarouses toiled in the background. Last year he had just three starts and a total of 480 minutes of field time.

Three rounds into the 2010/11 Hyundai A-League Season and the young Kiwi has played every minute for the Roar, contributing strongly to early signs of a turnaround season, and coach Ange Postecoglou is giving his signing plenty of the credit for leading the way forward.

"I guess the reason he came here was to play regular football, and he's getting that," said Postecoglou.

"People forget that he's only 20 years old and he's done a fantastic job leading our line; it's a pretty important role in our set up and he plays that central striker."

"I've put a lot on his shoulders as a 20 year old and he's doing well."

Through his own good form Barbarouses has done enough to give his coach the confidence to allow Reinaldo a gradual and cautious return from his hamstring injury.

With the Brazilian to be used off the bench and Costa Rican signing Jean Carlos Solorzano not available for another week, Barbarouses will start in his first clash against his former club on Friday night.

There is added drive in preparation for the Phoenix, the young striker admits, but the overwhelming motivation is to continue to deliver as Brisbane work to build on their impressive start.

"It's a special game for me, it stands out against the rest of the games, but it's just another game at the end of the day for the Brisbane Roar and another one that we want to win," said Barbarouses.

But while focus is on another three competition points for the time being, neither Barbarouses or Postecoglou were playing down the weighty lure of higher honours.

"That's obviously my goal in my career, to get as many international caps as I can, this is an important year for me, and with Ricki coming over I want to play well and hopefully the international calls will come," said Barbarouses.

Postecoglou can only support the ambition of the exciting young forward, and the Brisbane coach said he wouldn't begrudge his striker a desire to impress the opposition coach.

"That's what football's about, it's about taking opportunities, and Ricki's still his national coach and I know they've got some games coming up," Postecoglou said.

Whether it's this weekend or next, Barbarouses said he wasn't yet feeling the pressure to break his goal-scoring duck, and like so many of Brisbane's new recruits, he says the quality football the Roar are playing will ensure that results and individual rewards come in due time.

"I want to score goals, that's my main aim. It's only been two rounds, so we'll see if I score one Friday night it'd be good, but even then there's no pressure," said Barbarouses.

"As long as the team's winning well, hopefully I can contribute to that, like I thought I did last week, so hopefully we'll keep winning and the goals will come if we do."

Even if the scores don't reflect endless possibility, the Roar have put their Hyundai A-League rivals on notice with their dominant showings against the Gold Coast and Sydney.

Whether or not Brisbane capitalise on their potential remains to be seen - Postecoglou insists goals are inevitable - but for certain, as the spearhead of a youthful and aggressive side, Barbarouses now has the perfect opportunity to demand national selection.