Tianjin Teda midfielder Paartalu honoured by first Australia call-up.
Erik Paartalu has described his first call-up to the senior Australia squad ahead of the East Asian Cup as a “great honour”.
Paartalu, who previously won two caps for Australia’s under-17 side in 2003, is a surprise pick by head coach Holger Osieck and has been named in the provisional 24-man squad for the tournament that begins in Seoul on Saturday.
The 27-year-old midfielder has performed well for Chinese Super League club Tianjin Teda after joining from Brisbane Roar in January 2013 and his fine form hasn’t gone unnoticed by Socceroos’ Osieck.
And Paartalu is convinced he is reaping the rewards of hard work at his new club and is determined to win his first cap having never represented his country at this level.
“It’s a great honour in being selected for the national team,” he told Goal.com.
“I have been playing hard and every week over here in China so I’m happy the hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. I want to get into camp and try and push for a starting spot and get my first cap and to help the team be successful in this tournament.
“It’s going to an even competition with most nations naming local-based players but I believe we can do well. We have good depth in young players and experienced players. I’m excited about the next few weeks.”
Australia kick off against host nation South Korea on Sunday but Paartalu is keeping one eye on the clash with China on July 28.
“I really hope I get to be on the pitch against China,” he said.
“Being my home at the moment it would be special to face off against the Chinese team. They will be out to prove a big point this tournament and I wish them well.”