Milligan eying action at third World Cup

July 24, 2013
By Angela Habashy

Socceroos midfielder Mark Milligan has had enough of experiencing World Cups from the sidelines.

The 27-year-old was part of both World Cup squads in 2006 and 2010, but didn't get a minute of game time in either campaign.

Now on the verge of being selected for his third, the Melbourne Victory star says he's more driven than ever to ensure he gets some action on football's biggest stage.

"It's definitely still a driving force for me," he said.

"It's definitely something that plays on my mind.

Only 20-years-old when travelling with then coach Guus Hiddink to Germany in '06 Milligan didn't expect to even be selected let alone play.

"I was very young and it was a little bit of a shock for everyone, no one more so than myself," he admitted.

Four years later in South Africa and Milligan, who was valued by Pim Verbeek for his versatility, was still confined to the bench.

This time round he feels making the permanent move to the holding midfield position is his best shot.

"This is the first time in my career I've really been settled in one position," he said.

"Hopefully playing regularly in a midfield position that's going to give me my best chance of not only making a third World Cup squad but actually seeing game time."

Milligan's performances in the role have already impressed coach Holger Osieck, with the German favouring him to Mile Jedinak to partner with Mark Bresciano in the centre for the final three World Cup qualifiers last month.

"Mark Milligan got an opportunity and he stepped up," Osieck said.

"Mile had to sit on the bench. You see how it goes?"

Milligan's recent strong showings have also attracted interest from English side Queens Park Rangers.

But Milligan says he has no intention of making the move abroad, with stability his top priority this close to a World Cup.

"I've made it very clear at the moment that I am very happy in Melbourne," he said.

"Its a very important year for me personally too, not only for Melbourne to do well there, but obviously the World Cup at the end of it.

"To move would be quite a risk I think, especially when I'm so settled and happy where I am.

"Holger has shown faith in me that if I'm playing regularly and doing what he wants of me, then I don't think it matters too much at the moment where I am."

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