Socceroos enjoying competition for spots
FOOTBALL: Defender Bailey Wright says competition for places is pushing players to a higher level as the Socceroos look to reach their fourth straight World Cup finals.
Australia is in Thailand preparing for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Bangkok.
Preston North End's Wright is battling for a centre-back spot in Ange Postecoglou's team along with Matt Spiranovic and Trent Sainsbury.
"It's what you want in football,” he said. "Whether it's at club or international level, no one wants an easy ride.
"If you've got that position and someone's waiting for the opportunity, then you've got to push yourself even harder - I think that's only natural that you do that.
"I think that's one of the healthier things in the squad that no one's position is safe.
"Everyone wants that shirt and to represent their country and there's always someone there queuing up to take it off you.
"Whether you have got that shirt or not you've got to work really hard to get it or keep it and that's what works for a successful team.”
The Socceroos are second in the group behind Saudi Arabia going into the clash against the Thais.
While their opponents are bottom of the ladder with no points, Wright was expecting the Socceroos to face a difficult task in oppressive conditions both with the weather and a partisan home crowd still mourning the death of their king.
"This is their winter, so they tell us,” he said.
"It's warm, humid and quite rainy but we've experienced those conditions before, it's nothing new and there will be a big atmosphere too.
"But it's what you enjoy about football, going away to these countries and experiencing something new and different.
"It's a challenge but a challenge you want to step up to.
"They haven't got off to the best of starts but that doesn't mean they are not a good team.
"We will give them the respect they deserve, do our work on them and make sure on match day we put in a good performance and come away with a win.”