Behich could be Socceroos bolter

by AAP on Jan 22, 2012

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Melbourne Heart's Aziz Behich is shaping as a possible Socceroos bolter to bolster a problem position for the national team - perhaps as soon as next month's World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia.

Behich, 21, has been in outstanding A-League form with three superb performances in succession.

Already an Olyroos regular, Behich's recent efforts may convince Socceroos coach Holger Osieck to try the competition's form left-back in the senior team's dead rubber against the Saudis on his home pitch - Melbourne's AAMI Park.

Heart coach John van 't Schip says converted attacker Behich, whom he admits still needs some work on his defensive skills, is playing so well that he could now be ready for higher honours.

And a match in which Osieck may rely on A-League players rather than his overseas-based stars could be the ideal test bed for Behich to be compared against incumbent Michael Zullo or recent makeshift option Matt McKay.

"I'm happy with how Aziz is progressing. He knows as well defensively he has to keep working on his positioning," he said when asked if Behich may be up to national team honours.

"You can't go ahead of yourself especially if you are only 21. There are a lot of things you have to improve.

"If you are talking about the Socceroos, he is on a good way. It's up to him, and the coach of course to select him if he's see there's a future for him.

"But I certainly see he can make that step."

Behich would be available to play in the Socceroos' match on February 29, with the Olyroos' crucial away qualifier against the United Arab Emirates scheduled for February 22.

He shone again during the 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar on Saturday night, creating the Heart's goal by nutmegging Besart Berisha and impressing with his marauding work getting forward down the left.