Bailey Wright will be named in Ange Postecoglou’s provisional squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Wednesday.
The North End defender has been in terrific form this season for the Lilywhites and his reward; along with what he hopes is promotion to the Championship, is a place in the Socceroos camp ahead of the biggest football tournament in the world.
But the 21-year-old admits that he was shocked to receive the phone call which made his dreams come true.
Speaking exclusively to PNE.Com, Wright said: “It hasn’t really hit me yet to be honest.
“Obviously it is something I am very proud of, I wasn’t really expecting it.
“But at the minute I have got this game on Thursday to concentrate on and that is my main priority, at the same time I am obviously buzzing about the call up.
“I have spoken with all the family back home and they are just as shocked as me really.
“It is just starting to hit them and they are very excited, they said they couldn’t contain themselves sometimes and they just wanted to start telling people when they couldn’t for a couple of days.
“They are proud and very happy.
“I got a phone call from the team manager just to let me know I was in the 30 man squad and was congratulated.
“I wasn’t sure if it was legit at first, but I actually knew the guy who called me because it was Joel Freeme who used to look after the Joeys.
“I hadn’t spoken to him since then because of not really being involved with the Australia setup since, but it was nice to hear his voice again and to get some good news.”
The central defender, who has made over 100 appearances for Preston in his short but impressive career to date, is an advocate of hard work and determination, traits which saw him leave his home land at an early age to advance his dream of making it in the professional ranks.
And he firmly believes that his career path from Melbourne to Preston has been a catalyst for this call up.
“I believe you have got to earn a living, you can’t just be given it, that’s the beauty of Preston,” continued Wright.
“You always have to earn it no matter how good or bad you are, you will be given an equal opportunity and you have to fight to get yourself that professional contract.
“When you get that, you then fight to get yourself in the first team, you get yourself in the first team and you fight to keep your place and that continues on.
“It is good to have to fight for things and earn things, if they are given to you, you can take them for granted and opportunities like this are something you don’t ever want to take for granted and if you have earned it, it feels a lot better.
“When you say the words ‘World Cup’ I get goosebumps a little bit, I grew up as a kid watching World Cups.
“I have still got a lot of work to do to get myself in that squad for the tournament, but I am a step closer than I was in the last few months.
“To be called up to this squad is an amazing feeling, like I said, I wasn’t expecting it because I haven’t been a part of anything else before, but I have always been a believer in concentrating on doing well for your Club and your Club doing well and then things like this take care of themselves.
“The gaffer and the players have been great since I told them, they have all offered their congratulations and told me about what a great opportunity I have got.
“I am sure everybody would love to have the opportunity I have got to be part of a World Cup squad and they have given good advice, a pat on the back and told me it is well deserved.
“They are my mates here; they have given me mates’ advice, so I’m appreciative.”
Wright knows that this is only the start in his pursuit of obtaining a seat on the plane to Brazil, but he is fully prepared to work hard and fight for his place in the final 23 man squad and believes that no matter the outcome of that quest, the upcoming experience will prove invaluable.
Bailey added: “It is a massive step for me to get myself in and amongst that squad.
“It is my first time and it is a massive squad to be a part of and I am itching to get involved and be a part of it.
“It is always something that you strive for and want to be part of and I am living it now I suppose and the chance is sort of surreal.
“I am thrilled to get in the 30, but I will be disappointed if I don’t get myself in the 23 now, that is the goal you set yourself, you are in there, you have a great opportunity to prove yourself and get yourself to the World Cup.
“I’ll go there and I’ll be myself, I’ll work hard and hopefully that can get me in the 23.”
“I have spoken about it to the lads before, imagining being in our group with the likes of Spain, Chile and Holland, you are playing against some of the world’s best.
“And I think a lot of people are doubting Australia, but most Australians carry the characteristics of being mentality tough and we are always prepared to be the underdogs.
“There is no reason why we can’t go there and cause a few upsets.
“You are playing against the world’s best and it is a great opportunity to go test yourself and express yourself on the world stage.”