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Deng dreaming of Socceroos debut

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Thomas Deng - Australia - AFC U-23 Championship 2018

Dubai: Promising young defender Thomas Deng plans to soak up every minute of his first Socceroos camp in the United Arab Emirates.

Deng is one of five uncapped players in Graham Arnold’s squad for the training camp in the UAE and next week’s international friendly against Kuwait in preparation for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

The 21-year-old has represented Australia at both U-19 and U-23 level but this is his first call-up to the senior squad and one he plans on making the most of.

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“For me, it’s a different experience playing at an international level,” Deng told

“There’s some very good players in the national team.

“I’m just looking forward to the game and seeing how the team works and all the staff and see how everything goes.”

If Deng does earn his first Socceroos cap against Kuwait, he will join his older brother Peter to have played senior international football.

While Kenyan-born Thomas wants to wear the green and gold, Peter Deng has represented South Sudan where their family hails from.

Massive honour to be selected for the socceroos, thank you to everyone for their support 🙏🏾

— Thomas Deng (@thomasdeng24) October 5, 2018

“As a kid it’s something you dream of and something you want to do as you get older,” said Deng, of playing for your country.

“I’m very happy to be here, it’s a massive achievement and my family is happy as well. It would mean the world to me,” Deng added when asked what it would mean to play for the Socceroos.

“It is something that you want to do as a young kid and for me I am still 21, so to be able to play for my country would be an amazing feeling. I hope I can do them proud.”

The cool and composed defender has earned his Socceroos call-up after impressing Arnold at the recent U-23 camp in Canberra as well as his excellent form in the A-League with Melbourne Victory.

If he does manage to make his debut against Kuwait, he will become the third current player at Victory to have represented the Socceroos alongside Carl Valeri and James Troisi.

Victory boss Kevin Muscat also played for Australia during his playing career.

“They wished me well,” said Deng on the message from the trio after his call-up.

“They congratulated me for being called up for my first camp. The main thing they said was to enjoy it and train hard.”

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