Catching up with Nathan Burns


Nathan Burns says the hype and huge support from the Aussie fans for the Socceroos is filling the side with so much confidence and the belief they can overcome anything in the AFC Asian Cup.

Burns admits playing in the biggest-ever football tournament on Australian soil does come with its pressures but says the team are embracing it.

“We obviously want to come here and win whether the tournament was in Australia or if it was overseas. That’s the reputation we have as Socceroos now, we want to win tournaments,” Burns said on Sunday.

“We’re not feeling too much pressure. The crowds are very good and you saw in Melbourne we went a goal down and their support probably got us over the line in the end.

“We went behind and they didn’t turn negative. That’s what we need every game.

“We’re not going to be leading the whole tournament, so there will be times we need their support and I’m pretty confident the fans will give it to us.”

Expectation is only going to grow following the side’s scintillating performance to dispose of Kuwait 4-1 in Melbourne on Friday night.

Shielded from a lot of the pre-tournament hype due to playing in Wellington with Phoenix, it hasn’t taken long for Burns to see how quickly the nation is getting behind the team and the tournament.

“We all picked up the paper the other day and saw a double page spread which is awesome for the code,” the 26-year-old attacker said.

“The longer this tournament goes on and the Socceroos’ are still in its only going to grow. If we get to the final it’s going to be massive.

“It’s going to be great not only for Socceroos’ fans but also just the normal person who doesn’t normally get involved in soccer. It’s going to be a great atmosphere, hopefully we can get to that stage but we can’t look too far ahead.”

Burns, who made a promising cameo in the second-half against Kuwait on Friday, could get a start against Oman as coach Ange Postecoglou weighs up freshing up his strike-force.

The Hyundai A-League leading scorer was unlucky not to find the back of the net in Melbourne, hitting the crossbar with a superb header while only a fine reflex save denied him late on.

“It’s a game of inches I suppose,” Burns said with a smile.

“One hit the crossbar and the other one the goal-keeper made a great save. It hit his legs where most times they go in…that’s football and hopefully I get one throughout the tournament.

“We’ve got a squad and I’m sure the whole team will get used at some point in the tournament.
“That’s why it’s important that some guys that didn’t get used in the first game should be ready because we need the whole squad to win this tournament. Everyone knows that and we’ve all got our part to play.”

Burns says his confidence is sky-high due to his exploits in the Hyundai A-League and believes he’s probably in the best form of his career.

The Socceroos have the chance to book their spot in the last eight of the competition if they can beat Oman on Tuesday.

“It is a carrot for us but we want to go further than that. We want to top the group and make it a bit easier for ourselves,” Burns said.

“We want to win every game for confidence and momentum.

“Oman are a good country, obviously very good with their football so we have to look out for them. They are going to be up for the game because they obviously want to beat the host nation.

“We have to go out there and give a good performance, we don’t want to leave anything to chance going into the last game.”