Hibernian winger Martin Boyle has admitted facing an international conundrum would have been laughable just a few years ago.
The 25-year-old has been drafted into Australia’s training squad ahead of a friendly against Kuwait next week, but cannot feature as he has still not received his passport.
The Aberdonian has never been to Australia but qualifies through his Sydney-born father and has pledged his future to the Socceroos after a recent meeting with manager Graham Arnold.
“I’m very honoured, it’s a great achievement,” Boyle said ahead of Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership encounter with Hamilton.
“The manager told me that he would be delighted for me to come along and get to know the lads, that I would fit into the system well and was the type of player he was looking for, pacey and direct.”
Boyle was sounded out over a Scotland call-up for the summer tour to Peru and Mexico but was carrying an injury and Alex McLeish subsequently told him chances with his native country would be limited.
“He called me and just talked about my development, and that this time they were strong in this position and the call wouldn’t be coming along,” Boyle said. “I was equally honoured to be getting a chat with him as well.
“As it stands, I feel the decision has been made. Speaking with the manager and the chance he has given me to go out there, I feel it is pretty much sealed. If I can go out there and show them what I can do, that’s even better for me.”
Boyle’s national identity had never been a pressing issue until his recent upsurge in form. The wide player spent several years with Montrose before signing for Dundee, but was loaned out twice during his time on Tayside.
He was an unused substitute in Hibernian’s 2016 Scottish Cup final victory but has excelled since Neil Lennon took charge.
“It’s always been back and forward but coming from where I’m from, playing for Montrose in the third division, I never really thought about international football,” he said. “Everything has come at once and I’ve taken some time to think about.
“If you told me a few years ago that this would be happening, I would just have laughed at you. I feel like the last two years I have really kicked on. Since the gaffer has come in I have really had a chance. Before that I was just getting by, ticking along the way, not really going in any sort of direction.
“Obviously I have been given a chance and am starting to reap the benefits.
“I felt I was a bit inconsistent before the manager came in. I was in and out of games, I would have a good game and then fade away. Now I feel I am consistent in my game and I have been keeping that up.”
Boyle, who joins Hibs team-mates Mark Milligan and Jamie Maclaren in the Australia ranks, added: “I have been trying to get much stronger, trying to get even faster than I am, and my final product is improving. Obviously there’s a lot more to be done, I can still be working on things and I just need to keep working hard.
“I am delighted with the way I have progressed and I just want to keep progressing and see how international football goes.”