To see Pim and the Aussieroos arrive home in Sydney this morning...

The Newcastle Jets captain arrived back with coach Pim Verbeek and several of his Socceroo teammates after a tremendous performance in the goalless draw with China. North’s contribution earned him tremendous plaudits from both colleagues and supporters and now he is keen to build on his success.

Speaking to au.fourfourtwo.com in the arrivals hall, North said: “Oh mate, it was just tremendous. I was pretty nervous in the build up to the China match and yeah there were a few butterflies in there.

“You know that it’s a massive game, an important World Cup qualifier but it was a dream come true to be involved in a match like that and an occasion like that. Once the whistle went I was fully focused and ready to go.”

North went into the China game after the goalless draw against Singapore, a match that saw him briefly handed the captain’s armband after Harry Kewell was substituted by Verbeek.

The 25-year-old said: “Look it’s been an unbelievable year for me. It started with the birth of my child, then I’m handed the captaincy of my A-League club, we then go and win the grand final. That in itself is fantastic but then you suddenly get a call up for the Socceroos and the captaincy.

“Having the performance I did (against China) just topped it off really. The coach congratulated the boys on the result and performance but he doesn’t really pick people out. I think he’s a great coach and I’ve already learned so much from him.”

North has also paid tribute to the part played by Jets coach Gary van Egmond in putting him on the road to his ‘unbelievable’ year. He said: “I’ve got every reason to thank Gazza. To have led the boys out this year has been massive. I think I’ve earned the respect as captain and it’s helped me a lot.”

Not that his gratitude will translate into a desire to remain at EnergyAustralia Stadium. North’s appetite has been further whetted to embrace a new challenge beyond Aussie shores.

He said: “A game like that (China) can open up doors you know. I think it’s time for me to go and I just feel I’m ready to go. My next step, my next challenge is to go overseas. I don’t think Con (Jets owner Con Constantine) will stand in my way.”

Van Egmond has said North’s next challenge is to cement a permanent spot in the Socceroo set up and the defender agrees. He said: “That’s what I want to happen and to bring that about I have to keep playing well and maintain a level of consistency. You set standards and you have to maintain them.

"We’ve a month off now so I have to keep myself fit. I just want to keep growing in stature.”

To see Pim and the Aussieroos arrive home in Sydney this morning...