10 Dec 2014

Burns hopes he's the right fit

11:31 am on 10 December 2014

The in-form Wellington Phoenix striker Nathan Burns hopes he is the right shape to fit into Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos jigsaw puzzle for the Asian Cup.

Burns has been included in the 46-man provisional Australian squad to contest the tournament on home soil next month, moving a step closer to ending four years in the international wilderness.

It rewards his A-League exploits, having scored scored eight goals in nine games for the Wellington Phoenix to top the competition's goalscoring list.

Wellington Phoenix striker Nathan Burns.

Wellington Phoenix striker Nathan Burns. Photo: Photosport

Selection in the final 23-man squad, which must be named by December 30, would be his first since the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar.

Burns expects some sleepless nights before the announcement, describing his chances of making the cut as fair at best.

"It'll be tough with the players that are up front, a lot of them playing overseas," he says. "You have to fit with Ange's structure and maybe if I suit his game, I might be in."

Having made his Socceroos debut as a teenager, Burns who's now 26, didn't fulfil his enormous talent after leaving for four years in Greece and a stint in South Korea.

He says a Socceroos recall would mean more to him now than earlier in his career because of the hard work needed to return to his current form.

After a handful of appearances for the Newcastle Jets last season, Burns surprised many by choosing to move to Wellngton, a move not regarded as one to enhance his international hopes.

"I wasn't thinking about the Socceroos too much coming here, I just wanted to make a good start to the season."

"There was a risk factor but if you're making headlines scoring goals then it's the same as any other A-League team."

"The momentum's just carried on and I'm riding the wave."

Burns has up to three more games to prove himself, including Saturday's match against the Central Coast Mariners in Auckland.

He has thrived under the fluent style adopted by the fifth-placed Phoenix alongside the likes of Michael McGlinchey and Roy Krishna, bagging the club's first ever hat-trick against Melbourne City in round eight.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has no doubt Burns should win a place in the Australian squad, believing he is a candidate for the starting side.

"At this stage Nathan probably has exceeded my expectations but he can still get better and better."

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