Japan boosts Aussie strikeforce
Australian strikers Josh Kennedy and Alex Brosque has credited Japan's J.League for some of the best form of their careers.
The pair was speaking in Sydney ahead of Australia's friendly with Malaysia in Canberra on Friday, and a World Cup qualifier with Oman in Sydney on Tuesday.
Kennedy, 29, joined Nagoya Grampus in 2009 and has scored 15 times this term, leading them to third place in the J.League, and the 194cm front man has been in sterling form for the Australian national side as well.
He has scored three goals in the Socceroos last two World Cup qualifiers, and Kennedy said his time in Japan, after nine years plying his trade in Germany, has improved his international form.
"I've been enjoying my football," Kennedy said. "I missed a couple of games at the start of the season, since then 90 minutes every game. I think I've been a good, consistent performer this year."
"The last couple of years since I changed to Japan I think I've found my feet and improved as a player as well. I think it has a lot to do with confidence. I'm involved in things, I'm scoring goals, and it's enjoyable."
Despite starting and scoring in Australia's past two World Cup qualifiers, Kennedy said he was still very much playing to shore up his place in the squad.
"Obviously every game I get a chance to impress and try and cement that position. I think I've done well," he said.
Brosque, meanwhile, is close to the end of his first season in the J.League with Shimizu S-Pulse, after five years at Sydney FC, and the 27-year-old, who has seven goals for his new club, said he has been reinvigorated by the change of scenery.
"Looking back now (on the move), it's been a good one so far," Brosque said.
"I've managed to play every game this season which is good for me, and the coach over there has shown a lot of faith in me."
"We've got a couple of games left and hopefully I can have a good break in the off-season and do the same thing next year."
"We play more of a 4-2-3-1 formation and I guess I've been one of the two in midfield."
"It's something new, something I've never really been used as before but at the same time, playing with one striker and (as) a target man, that's not my ideal role either."
"So I had to find somewhere new and it happened to be in midfield."
"It's worked out alright, like I said I've played every game and managed to score a few goals form there as well."
"It's been enjoyable, I get a lot more touches on the ball. (I'm) just able to sort of drift around the park and have a bit more influence on a game."
Brosque managed to score the sealer in Shimizu's 2-0 victory over Nagoya on Sunday, and the striker said he made sure his Socceroos team-mate Kennedy knew all about it after the final whistle.
"He tried to give me a bit of stick during the game so after it I made sure I gave him a little bit," he said. "It was good fun to play them, good to obviously beat them at home as well."
"It's good to try and get one over him."