Kruse 'thrilled' with development
This year has been a whirlwind of glory for Robbie Kruse but the 25-year-old says he cannot afford to stop and smell the roses.
It started when he scored a brace on his starting debut for German powerhouses Bayer Leverkusen and the attacker then went on to play in a UEFA Champions League campaign before emerging as an Australian attacking weapon in World Cup qualifiers.
"I haven't had too much time to really reflect on anything," Kruse said in Sydney on Sunday ahead of this week's friendly against Costa Rica.
"Obviously we had the World Cup qualifiers and it was such a surreal feeling to qualify.
"Then I jumped straight back into Bayer.
"I'm thrilled with where I'm at and I'm thrilled with the path that I have taken, I have progressed as a footballer and off the pitch as well."
Brisbane-born Kruse last week won the Professional Footballers' Australia Footballer of the Year Award, adding to the Harry Kewell Medal (for the best under-23 player) that he won two years ago.
He becomes the first player ever to win both gongs.
"I have been feeling really good, I have felt pretty happy with my start at Bayer and hopefully I can translate that into the national team," Kruse said.
"It's obviously difficult when you are coming in, with different philosophies of the coaches and you're playing different players, but I'm sure we're all experienced enough to adjust."
Kruse will play a key role under new Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, starting with Tuesday night's friendly against Costa Rica.
"It's a friendly but even the boss said he doesn't like losing and I'm sure none of the players do," he said.
"We want to win and play a nice brand of football.
"You see the way (Melbourne) Victory and Brisbane have played under Ange, it has been very attractive.
"So if we can play similar to that and get some victories and get some goals, hopefully the fans will appreciate that."