Hearts midfielder Oliver Bozanic reveals his Australia World Cup 2022 dream

International recall is still a big ambition for Tynecastle man

Oliver Bozanic is expecting the birth of his second child soon
Oliver Bozanic is expecting the birth of his second child soon

Rekindling his international career with Australia remains a high priority for the Hearts midfielder Oliver Bozanic. Four years since his last cap, the 30-year-old still believes he can infiltrate Graham Arnold’s squad for the 2022 World Cup.

Australia are already three games into their qualifying campaign for Qatar and play the fourth today against Jordan in Amman. Bozanic will be an interested spectator.

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“I would still love to represent my country. We are going through the qualification stages for the World Cup just now and I would love to be back involved with the national team,” he told the Evening News.

“Hopefully good performances here and Hearts being successful as a team will also give me the opportunity at international level. I haven’t heard from the Australia coaches recently because I’ve only just come back into the Hearts team. They monitor all the players, especially the ones in Europe, so I know they will be keeping an eye on it.

“If I’m performing and the team is doing well, then it gives me the opportunity to be part of the Australia team as well. That’s the aim, for me to put in top performances here and for Hearts to be successful as a team. What comes after that is obviously out of my control but I still aspire to be in the Australian national team.”

He did his case no harm last weekend with a dynamic display plus a headed goal in Hearts’ 5-2 win against St Mirren. “Surprisingly, I’ve scored a couple of headers. I got one up at St Johnstone last season but there haven’t been too many,” he admitted. “I’ve been working really hard to be in the team and now I’ve played five games. I was able to help and score at the weekend so now I need to keep doing it. We want to keep winning.”

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Bozanic has another reason to continue prospering. His contract expires next summer, so his performances may well dictate his club future on top of any international recognition.

“I haven’t had any conversations as it’s not the right time just now,” he said, mindful that Hearts officials are slightly busy trying to recruit a manager and sporting director. “My focus is on my performances. I’d like to hope that, if I’m doing well, then the club will be coming back to me when they are happy to go forward. We are settled here and the family are happy. We are expecting our second baby so Edinburgh has become a second home.”

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Saturday was Hearts’ first home league win of the season and Bozanic felt a change of formation was the catalyst. He lined up on the right of midfield in a 4-3-3 formation, with Andy Irving in the centre and Jamie Walker on the left. Both Bozanic and Walker scored.

“Goals have definitely been difficult to come by. I think the way Austin changed the formation, a lot of players were able to get into attacking positions and create opportunities,” said Bozanic. “That showed in the game. Andy was sitting and Jamie and I were in the pockets. That allowed us to have a bit more possession and pin St Mirren back a bit.

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“It helped myself and Jamie make runs into the box. As a team, we pressed really high and won the ball back in very dangerous areas for us to then score. We had that platform to be much closer to the goal.

“It was a massive game for the club, the players and the coaching staff. We knew how important the three points were. We went away last week to St Andrews. We worked on a lot of things that helped us in the game and allowed us to score five goals. It could possibly have been a couple more.”