Young Mariners winger Trent Buhagiar admits he's honoured to be in contention for Josep Gombau’s Australian Under 23 squad for this year's AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers.
Five Central Coast Mariners were originally selected in the Australian Under 23 squad who are in camp from 14-19 May in preparation for the AFC U-23 Championship China 2018 Qualifiers to be held in July in Myanmar.
After impressing Head Coach Josep Gombau during the Olyroos camp in January: Adam Berry, Trent Buhagiar, Scott Galloway, Paul Izzo & Liam Rose were all rewarded with representative call ups.
“Yeah, I’m feeling good,” Buhagiar said. “My performances have been going well so to get another selection into an Australian representative camp is an honour so hopefully I can impress.
“I’m obviously there for a reason and I just need to rely on my game and do what I do best, so hopefully I can do enough to get picked in the final squad,” Buhagiar said.
In January Buhagiar went into camp on the Central Coast under Gombau, who was impressed by the Umina Junior’s pace.
“After my first camp we had a conversation and obviously, he likes my pace,” Buhagiar said. “Natural pace is quite rare in a player and he also likes my direct runs to goal. They are both big parts of my game so hopefully I can continue to improve on that.
“To have five other Mariners in the squad just shows that this club is willing to give youth a chance. Congratulations to the other boys also, hopefully we can all do well.
To qualify for next year’s AFC U-23 Championship, Australia needs to top its group or be one of the best five second placed teams of the ten qualifying groups. Buhagiar is hoping to be a part of that squad in July.
“I always want to put on that green and gold jersey,” Buhagiar said. “Even if it’s at the youth level it’s still a dream come true.
“Josep is a great coach, he’s very knowledgeable so I’m confident that I can learn a lot from this camp,” Gombau said.
AFC U-23 Championship China 2018 Qualifiers
19-23 July 2017 in Yangon, Myanmar