- Keanu Baccus has become a mainstay in midfield for Socceroos
- Stood out for Australia at the World Cup last year in Qatar
- The 25-year-old plays his club football for St Mirren in Scotland
- First caught the eye when representing Wanderers in A-League
Former A-League star Keanu Baccus has declared he has no intention of losing his Socceroos’ starting spot in the face of intense competition for midfield berths.
Baccus, 25, has become somewhat of an unsung hero in Australia’s engine room since debuting off the bench against New Zealand in Auckland last year.
He then featured in all four of the Socceroos’ matches at the subsequent 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and started in Australia’s 2-1 round of 16 loss to eventual champions Argentina.
Baccus – who has played for Scottish top-tier club St Mirren since the beginning of last season – has been a starter in seven of the Socceroos’ past eight games, including the 7-0 thrashing of Bangladesh in Thursday night’s 2026 World Cup qualifier in Melbourne.
It is a notable achievement considering Australia’s midfield stocks include the likes of Jackson Irvine, Connor Metcalfe, Massimo Luongo, Aiden O’Neill, the currently injured Riley McGree, as well as Cameron Devlin and Denis Genreau, who were both overlooked for the Socceroos’ latest squad by coach Graham Arnold.
Former A-League star Keanu Baccus has no intention of losing his Socceroos’ starting spot in midfield (pictured, marking Lionel Messi at the World Cup in Qatar last year)
The defensive midfielder has quickly become a fan favourite due to his athleticism
‘I’m honoured to be playing more, but just grateful to be selected in squads,’ Baccus said ahead of the trip to neutral Kuwait for the match against Palestine on Wednesday morning (AEDT).
‘It just took a lot of hard work (and) preparation. The dreams I had as a young kid I just ran with them, and when I got my chance I felt like I took it.
‘Taking that leap to Scotland was a big thing for me, to progress and improve my game.’
Baccus said playing in last year’s World Cup was also significant for his development.
‘Those stages really helped, playing in big games (against) Tunisia, Denmark, France, Argentina…it really taught me a lot, but it made me go away with more experience and more hunger to go into the national team fold a bit more and become a starter,’ he said.
‘I’m buzzing to keep going, take it game by game, and do the best I can.’
The Socceroos took a chartered flight to Kuwait from Melbourne on Saturday to give them the best possible chance of taking another successful step on the journey to the next World Cup come 2026.
Keanu Baccus started for the Socceroos against Bangladesh in the World Cup qualifier on November 16 in Melbourne
Baccus made his A-League debut with the Wanderers in 2016 and quickly caught the eye of clubs overseas
‘We will rest up, get a good sleep hopefully the first couple of hours, and then get used to the time zone over there, and be ready for the game,’ Baccus said.
‘We will be fresh and fit coming off the plane. It’s going to give us a massive edge.’
Baccus was confident the Socceroos would again dominate their opposition as they did against football minnows Bangladesh at AAMI Park.
‘Physically I thought we were really good. We worked hard, we worked as a team and we ran all over them,’ he said.
‘That’s the motto of Australian football. We are all tough and physical, and then we can put goals away when we need to, so hopefully that continues.’