The Perth Glory star was one of the first players to arrive in the UAE as the Australians continue to build for their Cup defence.
Six goals in nine appearances for the A-League table-toppers put the 23-year-old firmly in the sights of Socceroos coach Graham Arnold.
“I knew it was the 18th I was going to find out and I was up for my early morning coffee before training when my phone started ringing and it was the boss,” the former Lazio player said.
“I knew then and there it was decision time – thankfully he said, ‘congratulations you’re in my squad’.
“It was fantastic. It’s something I’ve been working towards for months now, something that I’ve planned.
“It’s always been a little goal in the back of my mind every day, when I was doing the little things, preparing my training, preparing my diet. To get that good news and that reward from hard work was fantastic.”
The six-cap Socceroo said he is hoping that working under Arnold will play to his strengths.
“I’m expecting it to be hardworking, very productive and I can’t wait to get on the pitch in the first session and start working,” he said.
“I’m hearing and seeing on TV it’s a very attack-minded game plan for quick players who want to go one-on-one with defenders and finish off chances.
“I’d love to get on the pitch and show Australia and Asia what I can do and to bring something new to the team and something dynamic.”
And Glory is not short of Socceroos alumni to give the green and gold fledgling the lowdown on what to expect.
“I think every single player came up and congratulated me,” he said of his Perth teammates.
“There are a lot of Socceroos in the squad like (Matthew) Spiranovic and (Ivan) Franjic and Jason Davidson and many others who were all really happy for me. And the boss, Tony Popovic, also called me to his office just to say congratulations.”
The former Western Sydney Wanderers player said he made his move to Glory with the Socceroos in mind.
"At the time I had a few different options" he said.
"I wanted to choose the best option for me career-wise and also for me national team-wise, because always the biggest joys you get in your career, I believe, are with the national team.
"So I weighed up all the options and Perth Glory seemed to be the best one at the time…it’s thankfully paid dividends."
The Socceroos will play their final warm-up friendly against Oman on Sunday before kicking off their Cup campaign against Jordan on January 6.