Bright Socceroos future beckons for defender Circati


Before he has even won his first Socceroos cap, Alessandro Circati has had more written about him than most uncapped 19-year-olds.

The central defender, who is in Graham Arnold's squad for Sunday's (AEST) friendly against Mexico in Dallas, has, inadvertently, created a fair bit of excitement that he could become a long-term member of the Australia national side.

Circati is thriving for promotion-chasing Serie B side Parma, who sit joint-top of the Italian second division and have only conceded one goal - a penalty - through their opening four games.

Parma's social media team have christened the Australian, "il muro" (the wall) after helping maintain an undefeated start to the season.

"Being young and being a centre half, it's hard to get trust and faith because if you make a mistake the ball is in the back of the net," Circati told AAP, laughing off his nickname.

"As a club we've had a strong start and topping it off is the chance to come to the national team."

There's also a buzz that Circati, who was born in Italy but raised in Perth, has chosen the Socceroos when a career in blue could have been a very real possibility.

When he was called up for an Italian U20s team last year, Australia fans feared he might have followed the lead of Christian Vieri or Croatia's Joe Simunic and gone on to become one of those that got away.

Instead, after endless speculation over his allegiance and more than 12 months of communication with Arnold, he called the Australia boss prior to June's friendly with Argentina to declare his commitment for the Socceroos.

"It wasn't an easy decision because of the circumstances that such a decision can lead to," Circati said.

"It was about a year of talking with Arnie … I knew at the time it was the right decision to make because I felt that within myself.

"I was being sent things (articles) but I don't feel like there was any pressure … at the end of the day it's just headlines, people writing something for people to read."

Circati's commitment to Australia followed Arnold's successfully wooing midfielder Alex Robertson to turn down England, Peru and Scotland to pledge his allegiance to the Socceroos.

Arnold has been in dialogue with another Italian-Australian, Sydney-born Cristian Volpato, who recently moved from Roma to Sassuolo, for well over a year but has yet to make a breakthrough.

Given his close bond with Volpato, Circati could be the man to help make it happen.

"I was in the Italian national team with Cristian … We're always in contact," Circati said.

"He's obviously made a transfer now, which is only 30 minutes away from me.

"We've already spoken and we'll try and get to see each other more often than when he was living in Rome."

The Socceroos suffered a blow in camp on Thursday (Friday AEST) with Melbourne City forward, and veteran of over 70 games in green and gold, Mathew Leckie ruled out of the Texas friendly after suffering a knee injury at training.

Circati, though, will most likely come off the bench if he debut's on Sunday where a raucous, pro-Mexican crowd is expected at the 80,000-capacity AT&T Stadium.

Whether that maiden cap comes now, in World Cup qualifiers or at the Asian Cup in January, it sounds like Arnold's messaging is already have its effect.

"In the whole group, there's a lot of motivation," Circati said.

"A lot of us want to prove to people what Australia can do, that's a really big motivator."