Australia's Chris Ikonomidis enjoying the Asian Cup spotlight
For a long time Chris Ikonomidis has been a highly rated prospect in Australian football -- now it seems the 23-year-old is delivering on that potential.
A stellar first half of the A-League season with Perth Glory thrust Ikonomidis into Socceroos contention, with the winger banging in six goals in nine appearances for Tony Popovic's side.
After earning his spot in Graham Arnold's 23-man squad for the Asian Cup, Ikonomidis scored his first international goal in a pre-tournament friendly against Oman.
His rise continued when he was named ahead of Robbie Kruse in the starting line-up for Friday's game against Palestine in Dubai.
Ikonomidis was for many the man of the match in the 3-0 victory, setting up goals for Awer Mabil and Apostolos Giannou as Australia got their Asian Cup defence up and running following an opening match defeat to Jordan.
It's a remarkable return to the spotlight for a player who endured a difficult three years with Italian Serie A giants Lazio before signing a three-year deal with the Glory in September.
Ikonomidis' time in Europe featured three different loan spells -- including a stint back home with the Western Sydney Wanderers -- but not one league appearance for Lazio.
A continuance of his impressive form in the Asian Cup will probably have European clubs again showing interest in Ikonomidis, who famously debuted for the Socceroos in 2015 having never played a game of senior club football.
Socceroos captain Mark Milligan is one who's been impressed by Ikonomidis' impact on the squad.
"I don't think we need to look too far past what he's doing at the minute," he said.
"That can be done a lot, especially in Australian football, we can sort of hold them up a little bit too early. But look he's been working very hard, as have a lot of boys."
"Awer has been fantastic as well. You can see the potential they have.
"It's just about him kicking on now when he has a chance on the pitch again."