Duzel makes international mark

Luke Duzel. (Supplied/Getty)

Tara Murray

Western United young gun Luke Duzel made an instant impact in the Olyroos squad as he helped the Australian team qualify for next year’s Asian Cup.

Duzel was one of three United players who travelled to Dubai as part of the squad, along with Noah Botic and Adisu Bayew.

For the trio, it was the first time they had been named in the Olyroos squad, the Australian under-23 national team, with Duzel and Bayew making their debuts

Having represented Australia previously at a younger age group level, Duzel said it was nice to have the opportunity to represent his country again.

“It was great to put on the jersey again,” he said after returning to Australia.

“It’s always good, even just getting out of the country was good.

“I was relieved [to get in the squad]. I thought I had delivered last season and played quite a few minutes.”

Duzel, at just 19 years old, was given a leadership role within the group. He played the whole 90 minutes in the first game.

The Olyroos won both their games and qualified for next year’s Asian Cup.

“We came to qualify for the Asian Cup next year, the whole team wanted to do that,” he said.

“I did really well doing the job I was given in the team. I didn’t play the second game though due to injury.”

Making the squad for the Asian Cup is a focus of Duzel in the next 12 months.

The trip to Dubai which included 38 degrees heat was a short one, wth Duzel back in Australia and preparing for the upcoming A-League season.

Duzel was lucky being fully vaccinated that he avoided having to quarantine.

He said things had been going well under new coach John Aloisi.

“John is different from the coach before,” he said.

“He has a more quiet personna. I like what I have seen so far and it’s been really good and everyone is buying into what he is doing.

‘We’re trying to keep it positive. We’re looking game by game and hopefully we can get back into finals.”

Personally, Duzel said he was keen to try and get more minutes after making massive inroads last season, including starting several games.

Duzel said he had loved his time at United, having previously been with Melbourne City. Having grown up living in Sydenham, playing for a western suburbs team is a dream come true.

“I played at Melbourne Knights and started my junior career there.

“I was then in the state squad and moved onto Melbourne City. I moved to Western United when I was 17.

“When I heard a club would be in the west that was close to me, I didn’t think much about it. The coaches didn’t have to pressure me too much.”

Meanwhile, United returned to the field on Saturday in their first official match in a number of months.

The side faced Newcastle Jets in the FFA Cup for a spot in the last 16.

For the result and match details, go to www.starweekly.com.au