Satisfied with his Socceroos career, Robbie Kruse is focused on returning Melbourne Victory to top of the A-League rather than adding to his 75 national caps.
Kruse, 32, continues his recovery from knee surgery, and while he’s set to miss the start of the Victory’s campaign on January 2, he’s hoping to be sidelined for only two matches and be fit for his team’s January 16 match against Wellington Phoenix.
The former Bayer Leverkusen attacker is desperate to make amends for last season when injury restricted him to just 11 appearances for the Victory in his return to the A-League after eight years away.
“I’m older know so I’ve so I’ve got to try to lead by experience, and I’ve got a lot of that,” Kruse said on Monday at the Fox Sports’ A-League season launch.
“We’ve got a really good group of core players here, so we’re looking forward to the season.
“I hope to integrate well with the team and contribute a lot more than I did last season.”
An increased contribution will be required by the entire Victory squad if the four-time A-League champions are to redeem themselves following their disappointing 10th-placed finish last season.
“It’s difficult when you have such a turnover of players. We’ve recruited quite well but it really all starts once the season begins,” Kruse said.
“Hopefully everything goes smoothly and we can work well as a team together.”
A new rivalry begins ⚔️
The Battle of the West starts on December 27 👀#ALeague #RunWithTheHerd #WSW pic.twitter.com/E4NYEptv96
A fit and firing Kruse would storm into contention for the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifiers in March.
However, the former Brisbane Roar prodigy won’t be too worried if national coach Graham Arnold decides to look elsewhere for attacking options.
“It’s not something that’s going to faze me too much,” he said.
“I’ve had 75 caps – I’m pretty proud of my Socceroos career.
“If I’m perform and my body holds up, I’d love to be a part of it but I just want to focus on getting myself right for the Victory, enjoying my football and just being happy to be on the pitch again.
“I’ve had a rotten run of luck the past six or seven years with injuries, so we'll see how this one goes.
“Hopefully I can really perform, and if I'm performing, we’ll see what happens (with the Socceroos).”
Kruse expects a good A-League standard despite a reduced salary cap having lead to several players leaving the competition.
“There’s still a good calibre of players here. I know a few players have left for other leagues but I think that’s normal – that’s always going to happen,” he said.
“A few more younger players will get opportunities because a couple of the journeyman aren’t around as much anymore, and with younger players going to get a chance. that’s a positive thing.”
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