Caltex Socceroos right back Josh Risdon has declared everyone is desperate to impress coach Bert van Marwijk before the 27-man squad gets cut to 23 on Sunday.
With just one lead up game before four players learn their fate – against the Czech Republic on Friday night, 9pm AEST – Risdon and his teammates have been pushing each other to the limits in training in a bid to earn a ticket to the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
“The squad is going to be cut down and I think that shows in training,” Risdon told socceroos.com.au.
“The intensity that everyone is willing to put in – it’s 110 percent – and it will be massive for whoever gets a chance [against the Czech Republic] to put their best foot forward to make sure they’re there in Russia.”
The Caltex Socceroos capped off a hard week of training in Antalya, Turkey before enjoying a day off and then doing two days of one session-per-day in order to be best prepared for the challenge of the Czech Republic.
For Risdon, who is coming off his debut season with Western Sydney Wanderers in the Hyundai A-League, this type of training was a good challenge – having not played a competitive match since the beginning of April.
“It’s been a while [since I’ve played competitively],” Risdon said.
“But I’ve been keeping myself ticking over with Craig Duncan so he had me working pretty hard.
“It doesn’t replace what you can get in training and games so the first few days were about finding that sharpness back.”
Risdon added: “After the first week in Antalya I’m feeling pretty good.
“It’s helped a lot to get the boys in early. The weather and the training facilities really helps the boys and the intensity of training has been really sharp so everyone’s been getting the best out of each other.”