Gauci: confident if Socceroos come calling

Adelaide United goal keeper Joe Gauci says he would be confident to step up as the Socceroos number one following an injury to regular shot-stopper Matt Ryan, but it has not provided him any extra incentive to perform.

Ryan suffered a fractured cheekbone after a collision at training at the weekend and has had surgery which will keep him sidelined in the short-term.

Gauci was in the most recent Socceroos squad for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh and Palestine, but has not featured since making his debut in a friendly match against Ecuador in March.
The 23-year-old has been in red-hot form, keeping Adelaide United in several Isuzu UTE A-League games this season after being included in the leadership team.

After consecutive losses with the Reds, Gauci told media on Wednesday that winning against Western Sydney on Friday night was incentive enough to play well.

He said he hoped Ryan would be fit and firing for next month’s Asian Cup, but would be ready if the opportunity with the national team presented itself.

He also discussed his side’s inconsistency, what to expect from the Wanderers and the emotion shown by teenage teammates Musa Toure and Nestory Irankunda.

Joe Gauci on what went wrong against Brisbane on Sunday:

“There were a few lapses of concentration. I think we came out from half time and I think it’s fair to say we switched off. Brisbane came out firing, which we knew they would. They’ve had great intensity with the earlier games and came out firing and we weren’t ready.

“I think it was a space of six minutes, we conceded two goals and from there it becomes really hard to push when they sat in and put numbers behind the ball.

“I think that in previous games we have started the game slow. The week before we started very slow and then we came out of half-time, had a really dominant 15 minute period, and scored a goal. So I think just consistency throughout the 90 minutes is the biggest thing. And you’ve seen when we do that we can really dominate and control games to limit their opportunities and create a lot ourselves.”

Joe Gauci on whether the side’s inconsistency can be attributed to having a number of young players in the line-up:

“You can’t expect young players to perform to the absolute peak every single week, you know, there’s going to be peaks and troughs in form. But it’s the same with all players as well. You just want to limit the amount of players that are having maybe not the best game each week. You don’t want to have 10-11 players struggling because the result is going to be ugly.

“At the same time, you don’t really want to accept that. We want to be pushing these younger players to perform to a higher level every single week and have them understand that if they’re not producing in terms of quality, that the non-negotiables – the work ethic and the intent – is there when we don’t have the ball.”

Joe Gauci on the side’s defensive lapses:

“It can be frustrating, but at the same time I look towards myself and what I can do to help our team. I’m someone at the back. goalkeepers are naturally in a leadership position, because I can see everything building up in front of me. So, I asked myself the question of how can I be better? How can I be communicating clearer to help the boys in front of me?

“I have never played, professionally at least, on field so I’m never going to understand the fatigue they might be going through physically or mentally at that time. I have to be on top of them and they demand that off me as well.”

Joe Gauci on a quad injury to forward Musa Toure that will see him miss a period of football:

“He’s frustrated and disappointed as any player would be to be missing games, especially over the next month or so there’s a lot of football to be played. He’s disappointed but injuries are a part of any sport and I found personally that you come back a lot stronger, physically as well as mentally from those injuries. He had one at the back end of last season, I believe and the way he responded from that, you know, the rehab was a lengthier process, and the way he came back from that was he came back firing and really, really hungry, I suppose. And you’ve probably seen that with his intent when he has got the minutes this season.”

Joe Gauci on what he expects from the Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night:

“They’ll be very aggressive without the ball and you know, they’re very strong at the back as well. So it’ll be a tough game, especially over then.”

Joe Gauci on the injury to Socceroos goal keeper Matt Ryan and whether it provides extra incentive to play well ahead of next month’s Asian Cup:

“Although it’s an opportunity for me to get selected, the squad hasn’t been announced so there’s no further for me to look than the next game for us at Adelaide, which is Friday night. There’s no point in talking about hypotheticals when the squad hasn’t even been announced. And I’m sure Matt will be fit and firing, ready to go for the Asian Cup.

“There’s always incentive to perform. If I can keep the ball going, keep a clean sheet and be successful for Adelaide, then the result of that could be that I get selected for the national team. And then the result of that could be that there might be an opportunity to play. So I just take each step as it comes. I don’t think there’s any need to have any more incentive to perform well than to get three points.”

Joe Gauci on people recognising him as one of the better goal keepers in the A-League and whether he would be confident to play for the Socceroos if the opportunity arose:

“I’ve been pleased with some of my games, but at the same time, I haven’t played a perfect game once this season. Yes, we’ve kept a few clean sheets and I know that quite often, they’re the main stats for goalkeepers. But I’m still making mistakes every game, although, I’ve tried to reduce the glaring ones and the ones that result in goals. And you know, playing a lot with my feet and distribution is something that I’ve worked on a lot through the preseason, but I’m not perfect in that regard, either. Decision making (is another area for improvement). On the weekend, a goal got disallowed when I came for a ball that probably wasn’t mine.

“In saying that, I would be confident if that opportunity was to come up, and I’d back myself 100{9316bdc8926ea12fd3218e9df0be06a03991e545af91e98c723bc822f5d4d102}. But at the same time, I’m very aware of the areas where I need some improvement.”

Joe Gauci on the emotion shown by teenage teammates Musa Toure and Nestory Irankunda during Sunday’s game:

“There are two different scenarios – you’ve got a player that’s suffered an injury and I know the emotion through that, you know, I ruptured my quad two years ago in the warm up, and I had the exact same reaction of Musa although I wasn’t on the field, I was in the change room. I was very emotional so I can feel that emotion. And it’s devastating as a player, especially when similarly, I just broke into the team and was just starting to get minutes, and he’s just had that same opportunity himself so I can really understand that.

“For Nestor, I can also understand his frustration in maybe coming off at an early stage of the game, maybe with his performance as well. Personally that’s something that I think he needs to keep in check but I also understand he’s extremely young – he’s 17 years old, and I just signed a professional contract, I hadn’t just signed with Bayern Munich and have the pressures of Australian football on his shoulders.

And I could never really understand the sort of pressure that is put under him externally, and also internally, he’s still a kid, and he’s still trying to discover himself as a person as well as a professional. So I think it’s easy to judge and look at what you see and maybe make assumptions about the way that they’re feeling. But I don’t think you ever understand, people never really understand the things that are going on behind the scenes or how they feel away from football. That’s something that he will learn with age and experience.

“He’s had some fantastic performances, and he’s probably used to scoring and having the highlights, but in fact, you’re gonna have probably more games where that doesn’t happen so it’s just about managing that. He’s still a kid. He’s not even 18 years old so I think we just need to take it easy on him sometimes as well.”