Asian Cup: Aziz Behich and Jordan Bos locked in selection battle

Socceroos veteran Aziz Behich has welcomed the challenge being presented to him by emerging star Jordan Bos for Australia’s left-back spot.

Former Melbourne City prodigy Bos started in the role in the Socceroos’ 2-0 Asian Cup warm-up win over Bahrain last weekend.

Behich – who returned from Europe to the A-League last year to fill City’s left-sided defensive role vacated by Bos, who moved to Belgian club Westerlo – came on as a second-half substitute, with Bos remaining on the field and pushing higher up the park.

“Competition in healthy within a squad,” 33-year-old Behich said from Doha ahead of the Socceroos’ Asian Cup opener against India on Saturday night (AEDT).

“He (Bos) is a great boy, he’s a good lad as well off the pitch … but for me it’s just about training hard, and I’ve shown what I can do when I’ve had the opportunity to represent the country.

“For me it’s just about working hard, day in day out, and the rest sometimes is out of your hands … (but) when it comes to a major tournament, everyone’s going to be needed.

“We’ve got games coming in rapidly, you only get a few days to recover, there could be suspensions, injuries, which I hope not, but it’s the nature of the game.”

Behich and Socceroos captain Mat Ryan are the only two members of the current Socceroos squad that were part of Australia’s 23-man contingent that won the 2015 Asian Cup.

“Me and Maty were lucky enough to touch that trophy in 2015 on home soil,” Behich said.

“We have another opportunity to do it again … and it’s a feeling you can’t explain to people when you win silverware, but you win it for your country is just special.

“A lot of the boys know what’s at stake here. It’s a big tournament.

“It’s not going to be easy … but with the squad we’ve got, we’re really confident going into this competition.”

Ryan didn’t play in the Socceroos’ win over Bahrain due his ongoing recovery from a fractured cheekbone he suffered last month.

He continues to train in a face mask, with Behich optimistic about the Socceroos’ first-choice keeper playing against India.

“Maty looks good. He’s training, he’s got the mask on … he’s on the training park, which is the most positive part,” Behich said.

Adelaide United gloveman Joe Gauci, who deputised for Ryan against Bahrain, is ready for another chance on Saturday if Australia’s skipper is ruled out.

“The selection and Maty’s fitness I can’t control, but I’m looking forward to doing a job and putting 100 per cent effort in for my country … whether it’s on the field or on the bench,” Gauci said.

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