New Newcastle Jets defender Matthew Jurman hopes a successful return to the A-League Men's competition can be a springboard to adding to his eight Socceroos caps.
Jurman left Greek second division outfit Xanthi for a two-year deal with the Jets earlier this year and returns to Australia at a critical time in the Socceroos' qualification campaign.
Graham Arnold's men, who are second behind Saudi Arabia in their group, have six games left to book a trip to Qatar at the end of 2022.
They are scheduled to face the table-topping Saudis in Australia on November 11 before an away game in China in the same week.
The value of being based in Australia and his previous experience working with Arnold may strengthen Jurman's chances of returning to the Socceroos fold.
"It's always an ambition for me to play for my country. It was my best time as a footballer and in my life to be honest," Jurman, who was a part of the Socceroos' 2018 World Cup squad, said.
"If that opportunity ever comes (again) I'd grab it with both hands.
"If Arnie calls me up, I'd obviously be honoured. For me to even get a sniff in there I need to be playing well for Newcastle week in and week out."
Jurman's form will be crucial for the Jets, who have seen 15 new faces join the club under Arthur Papas and have spent the pre-season targeting a much-improved season after finishing 11th last year.
But Jurman, 31, says the experience of his time in Greece means there is no reason why the Jets can't challenge for honours this season.
"We want to set the bar high and come the end of the season we want to be at the top and holding the trophy. I don't see why we can't be aiming that high as well," he said.
"(Xanthi) was a new team, there were a lot of Greek boys from the youth team and all the foreigners were new.
"It was very similar (to the Jets) in a way and we had to adapt and gel as soon as possible.
"There's no excuses for us, we need to be ready for round one.
"If we want to aim for the top then we need to be able to start from round one and try and collect as many points as we can."
Australian Associated Press