Published: 06:00, 03 January 2020
| Updated: 08:38, 03 January 2020
Ebbsfleet United keeper Jordan Holmes is hoping to book his spot at the 2020 Toyko Olympics this month.
Holmes is part of the Australia squad taking part in the U23 Asian Cup in Thailand – a competition that they don’t even have to win to get a ticket to Toyko.
Reaching the semi-finals will be enough for Holmes and his team-mates, who start off three group matches against Iraq on Tuesday.
“The Olympics is the biggest thing for us,” said Holmes. “Of course, we’d love to win it, everyone loves to win tournaments, but we’re not the top seed, we understand that.
“We’re one of the strong favourites for the tournament and if we finish in the semi-finals, we know we’ve got a flight to Toyko.
“It’s a big incentive – finish in the semi-finals and you’re off to the Tokyo Olympics later this year.”
Holmes is expected to play but he’ll be happy to watch from the sidelines if it means Australia seal a spot in Toyko.
“In the previous camp I was the number one, I played the majority of the games,” he said.
“But you don’t know who is going to play, the manager makes his decision based on game time, where you’ve been, how you fit the style of play.
“I think what it comes down to most of the time is who has had the most game time? I’d like to think that not many other leagues around the world have played as often as we have here.
“But whatever team is picked, whether I play or am on the bench, as long as we reach the end goal that is all that matters for me.”
The style of international football, and Australia’s standing as one of the better teams in their region means that it will be a different style of play to what Holmes has become used to in the hustle and bustle of the National League with Ebbsfleet.
“It’s very different,” said the former Bournemouth keeper. “At Ebbsfleet we’re on the backfoot here because of our league position.
“But with Australia, for that continent and area, we take the games to teams and you don’t see the ball for most of the game and only have the odd opportunity against you in many games.
“It’s a great feeling playing for your country and wearing the badge. It means a lot, as a kid growing up and you watch the 2006, 2010, 2014 World Cups, seeing the anthem and big games – you want that to be you one day.
“It’s emotional sometimes when you do play for your country and knowing my family are flying over to Bangkok to see me as they didn’t get to see me at Christmas.
“The best-case scenario for Ebbsfleet, worst-case for Australia is that I am back on January 15, best case for Australia is I am there until January 28 so I won’t be returning until the start of February to play for Ebbsfleet which is disappointing but that’s how the international window lands.”
More by this authorMatthew Panting