New Caltex Socceroo Jason Geria says consistent games with Melbourne Victory ensured he was ready to go for his international debut against Greece on Saturday night.
Geria earned his first Socceroos cap in front of almost 40,000 fans as Ange Postecoglou’s side opened the Dodoni Series with a hard-earned 1-0 win.
The 23-year-old handled the occasion with style, solid defensively while getting forward at times and contributing a couple of excellent crosses.
His first green and gold jersey is a reward for a stellar Hyundai A-League season with Victory – where Geria played 19 games – as well as a string of fine displays in the ACL.
“Just playing a lot of football has helped, match experience can take you far,” a beaming Geria told www.socceroos.com.au.
“I’ve played a lot of games this year and that’s helped how I did tonight.
“Playing different types of opposition [in the ACL] as well can only help your game. Tonight was a good test against Greece because they are a good side.”
Geria added of his debut: “I couldn’t ask for more. Playing in Sydney, in front of a crowd like that with these guys is very special.
“I’m very happy I got to play and I thought I did well.
“It was more about the team though…we got the just rewards in the end.”
Geria was part of an inexperienced back-four that included second-gamer Milos Degenek and Liverpool’s Brad Smith, as well as Trent Sainsbury, the most experienced at 24.
“But that’s the beauty of this squad. Ange [coach Ange Postecoglou] isn’t concerned how old people are or how many games you’ve played, if he thinks you’re good enough he’s going to put you in,” Geria said.
“It showed tonight with the back four, I thought Milos and Brad both did well and Trent is becoming a mainstay in this side.
“He’s [Sainsbury] playing like he’s played here for a long time which is good. He helped us adjust to the game really well.”
The Socceroos got the win thanks to Mathew Leckie’s 93rd-minute winner and now have one more game – Tuesday’s second clash against Greece in Melbourne – before the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers start in September.
“All we can do is keep playing these games and keep trying to work on developing the football we’re trying to play,” said Geria.
“That’s all we’re focused on and trying to improve constantly and get better.
“These games are billed as friendlies but that’s not how we’re taking them.
"We’re taking them as competition matches and that’s how we’re going to approach every match regardless of what it is.”