Former Merimbula Grasshopper and current Newcastle Jets sensation Lucas Mauragis has made no secret of his desire to play football at the highest level in Europe.
For now, the just-turned 20-year-old is tapping into the internationals at the Jets to help him get there.
He's just been named for the Under 23s Olyroos and will travel for a 10-day training camp in Dubai before qualifiers.
Once the camp is completed he will be travelling to Tajikistan for the AFC Qualifiers which is the first step on the Olyroos journey to the 2023 Paris Olympics. The Newcastle Jets man will miss the first few A-League rounds due to quarantine.
Mauragis sent a message to his home club that the Grasshoppers shared on social media, saying : "representing my country is something I've dreamt about since a very young age, so I am grateful for the opportunity".
Brazilian Daniel Penha completed quarantine on Saturday and will start training this week, taking the Jets' foreign contingent to four. Another import is expected to be confirmed this week
"I look up to players with international experience. That is where I want to be in the future," Mauragis said.
"It is a lot different from last season, but I am learning a lot from the international players with their experiences and am enjoying every moment of it.
"I strive to be at the top. Somewhere along the way, I want to be playing in Europe, playing in England at the very top level."
It's not just the overseas players whom Mauragis is seeking guidance.
"People like Matt Jurman, players who have been there and done incredible things in their career," Mauragis said.
The left-sided specialist made his A-League debut in July 2020, before a breakout season last campaign.
Initially behind Olyroos regular Connor O'Toole, Mauragis emerged as one of the finds of the season, highlighted by a goal and two assists in the final two games.
Disciplined and driven, he has made the transition from a winger to a more defensive role and is vying with Dylan Murnane for a starting spot in the season-opener against the Central Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium on November 21.
"There is always competition for spots and everyone is working really hard to get into the starting XI," Mauragis said. "I have to focus on myself and make sure I am up there with everyone.
"I want to improve every day and training is a great opportunity to do that. I give 100 per cent effort at every training session. I really want to establish myself here in Australia first, gain a lot more experience and show the league what I have got."
A superb athlete, Mauragis, since arriving from Canberra, has been one of the leaders in the fitness stakes, regularly finishing among the best in beep and yo-yo tests.
"I always want to be the best physically," he said. "We haven't done any [fitness] tests.
"We are monitored and have GPS data every day and they look at that to see how good we are physically."
Mauragis' focus has been on learning the finer parts of defending and forming combinations - trust - with teammates.
"I feel very comfortable at the back," he said. "We have worked collectively on a lot of technique in defending - moving our feet and blocking crosses.
"We have done a lot of back four work and defensive work ... when you are in defence, you want everyone to be on the same page. You need to form trust in each other. Everyone has roles in the team and we have to work off each other. That is not just the back four, it's the wingers and midfielders too."