Exclusive Bailey Wright column

After the trip to Hull, I'll be jetting off Down Under
After the trip to Hull, I'll be jetting off Down Under
Share this article
0
Have your say

After a busy first few weeks of the season, most of the lads will get the chance to enjoy some downtime after this weekend.

Our match away at Hull City is our last before the international break, which means Preston will not have another game for a fortnight.

I have been called up by my country Australia for two important World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh and Tajikistan.

So while most of my team-mates will be able to take a well-earned breather away from the game for a few days, I won’t be quite so lucky.

But you know what? I would not have it any other way.

Being afforded the opportunity to play for my country does coincide with having little bit less time off and a few more commitments.

But it was always my dream as a little boy growing up near Melbourne to one day wear the Green and Gold of Australia so it’s certainly no hardship.

Now I can just imagine you all saying, ‘Where on earth is Tajikistan?’

The short answer is it is near Kurdistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and China!

Immediately after our match against the Tigers on Saturday, I will be flying out to my homeland where we first play Bangladesh on Thursday in Perth.

Once that game is out of the way, we will then head to the city of Dushanbe to take on Tajikistan the following Tuesday. Having made three appearances for the Socceroos, it will be great to win my fourth cap against Bangladesh.

The fact that I am now playing in the Championship with Preston hopefully means my standing within the squad rises. Obviously I am playing at a higher standard of football against better players.

But I think the coach Ange Postecoglou has always been a big believer that if you’re playing and doing well, then you have got a great chance of a call-up.

The Championship is a challenge for me, but it’s a step up and hopefully will make me a better player and increases my chances of getting call-ups more often.

The beauty of international football is you travel all over the world and experience new things.

Playing on a grey, rainy afternoon in Lancashire is like chalk and cheese to the conditions and climate you might experience playing in somewhere like Dushanbe.

I have only had experience of it over the last two years, but the international game can be a different type of football.

Usually, it’s more tactical and you prepare for that one game rather than a whole season. Obviously, the goal of these games is to make sure we are in a position to qualify for the next World Cup in Russia in 2018.

I can remember as a little boy watching the Socceroos team beat Uruguay on penalties in a play-off to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

It was the first time in I don’t know how many years that we had qualified for the tournament.

I remember the elation of seeing John Aloisi score the winning penalty and it meant so much to the country.

I still have to pinch myself even now when I think back that I was actually part of the Aussie squad at the last World Cup in Brazil.

It was gutting not to get any game-time, but I was still proud and honoured to be a member of the squad.

I remember being there and looking across at the players of all three of our opponents Chile, Spain and Holland.

There were many world stars and it was amazing to think that I was rubbing shoulders with these players.

My dream is to play at the next World Cup and also help Preston into the Premier League.

Having been at the club as long as I have, I know all about the promotion near misses so it will be great to achieve that goal – the club and its fans deserve it.