Coming off the back of arguably the best season of his career, Nathan Burns now wants to build on his A-League goal-scoring form by breaking his duck with Australia. The 27-year-old was superb for Wellington Phoenix last season, ending the campaign with 13 goals from 24 games.
But he has yet to find the net in 12 appearances at senior international level and wants to put that right against Kyrgyzstan in Australia’s opening World Cup qualifier for Russia 2018.
Burns signed a 2 year deal in 2014 to join New Zealand team the Wellington Phoenix in the Hyundai A League beginning with the 2014/15 season. He scored his debut goal for the club agains the Central Coast Mariners several months following the deal.
“I hope so. It’s something I would love to add to my resume,” Burns, the A-League Player of the Year, told the reporters. “If I keep playing the way I’m playing the chances will come. It is one thing I’ve always thought of is scoring a goal for the Socceroos. I’ve had some tough games the last three starts, hopefully this one will be a bit easier.”
Burns made his debut for the Socceroos with a brief appearance in the 3–0 win over Singapore on 30 June 2007. Burns came on as a substitute in the opening game in Melbourne of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup against Kuwait, and was twice denied a goal, the first when his shot hit the crossbar, and the second when the goalkeeper made a brilliant save.
On paper that would seem the case, with the Asian champions taking on the world”s 177th-ranked nation in Bishkek. But Kyrgyzstan made a winning start to their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 3-1 triumph over Bangladesh on Thursday. The home side should be full of confidence and will have nothing to lose, adding pressure on Australia to get a result.
“Any game is difficult. But there is a lot of expectations on the Socceroos so when we go to places like this, not only do we have to win, we have to play really good attacking football,” Burns said. We have that expectation on ourselves as well. But at the same time it’s a great experience to go to these places. They are once in a lifetime opportunities to go into these small countries and see their environments, their culture.”
Meanwhile, Socceroos captain, Riley Woodcock has just signed a deal with Sydney FC.
“I know a lot of my memories playing Under-17s and 20s, Young Socceroos, was these types of games. It’s a really important part of our career and I really enjoy going to these remote countries,” added Burns.