Joe Gauci says it has been “surreal” to have the opportunity to join the Socceroos camp as a train-on for its crucial FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifier against Japan on Thursday.
Gauci was invited following his stellar form with Adelaide United in the Isuzu UTE A-League this season.
He has made 55 saves in 13 matches and was duly rewarded by Socceroos Head Coach, Graham Arnold.
“It’s been surreal,” Gauci told Socceroos media.
“To come in and just work with the calibre of players has been unbelievable.
“It’s the national team, it’s where I’m striving to get to and to play.
“But just to come in for a few days and help the boys out has been unbelievable.”
The 21-year-old thanked Adelaide and Carl Veart for allowing him to be a part of the national team set-up as a train-on.
“It’s a blessing that Adelaide have let me come into the camp and experience this which some other clubs might not,” he said.
“So I think I have to give them a lot of credit for the opportunity not only they’ve given me to play in the A-League, but to also come here and develop myself both on the pitch and off the pitch.
“I’m really thankful for the opportunity.”
Gauci said the biggest difference he has noticed between club and country is the extra level of intensity.
“Just the tempo, the level,” he admitted.
“Everyone here is a top, top player from overseas and in the A-League, so the level as soon as I came in I’m like, ‘wow I’m here now and this is where I’ve got to get to’.
“So the tempo of the training is the biggest thing.”
Gauci said he has also tried to absorb as much information as possible from fellow goalkeepers Andrew Redmayne and Danny Vukovic in the short time training together.
“Just little technical adjustments and things that will hopefully help me make more saves,” he revealed.
“So lots of little tips from them both and from (Goalkeeping Coach) John (Crawley) as well, so lots of information to take back to Adelaide and try implement into my game.”
The shot-stopper returned to Adelaide on Wednesday morning and will be back in action for United’s away clash with Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.