Senior man Spiranovic grows from golden generation grounding

Matthew Spiranovic believes an early education gained under Australia's famed golden generation can ease his elevation to senior figure in an inexperienced Caltex Socceroos side.

Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer and Mile Jedinak were among Spiranovic's first international teammates when he debuted as an exciting teenage talent against Ghana back in May 2008.

Eleven years on, the Perth Glory defender is the oldest member of a squad containing youthful newcomers like Harry Souttar, Brandon Borrello and Ryan Williams.

The latter's brother, Rhys, is Spiranovic's junior by less than a month and the classy 30-year-old centre-backs could join forces at the back in Friday night's friendly against Korea Republic.

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"Rhys and I have been in quite a few camps together," Spiranovic told www.socceroos.com.au.

"We were talking the other day about the old days, back with some of the golden generation and how times flies and how things have changed on and off the pitch.

"We were very lucky to be around then and to learn from some of those greats and legends.

"To still be involved now, you feel pretty blessed. Rhys and I get along well and I think we're similar players in many ways.

"Down that end of the pitch it's a more experienced bunch of players and ones that I'm pretty familiar with.

"We've all sort of played together in the past and I think that will hold us in good stead leading into this tough game."

Tim Cahill and Matthew Spiranovic
Matthew Spiranovic trains alongside Tim Cahill in 2009

With several fresh faces potentially looking in his direction for leadership, Spiranovic added: "I think being the oldest you naturally try to take on that responsibility a little bit.

"I've always been a player to lead by my actions first and foremost and if I can help the younger boys I'm more than willing to do so."

Spiranovic compiled a convincing case for a Caltex Socceroos recall in his first season back in the Hyundai A-League since 2015.

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After a three year stint with Chinese club Hangzhou Greentown, the 2014 FIFA World Cup player reunited with former Western Sydney Wanderers boss Tony Popovic in Perth and played an important role in the club's Premiership win.

"After my time in China, a long layoff between clubs and injuries, it felt right to go back and play under Tony Popovic," Spiranovic said.

"It turned out to be a great decision. [It was] a great year for the club and for myself personally, to be back playing regular football and to be fit and well.

"To be here now is a nice reward."