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Oct 8, 2013

Langerak has Socceroos sense of belonging

Far from daunted by a potential baptism of fire, Mitch Langerak feels perfectly prepared to fill Mark Schwarzer's gloves against football heavyweights France.

Langerak, 25, is favoured to earn his maiden Socceroos cap in Friday's friendly in Paris with first-choice goalkeeper Schwarzer rested for the clash, along with next week's fixture against Canada.

Aside from the East Asian tournament and qualifiers, it is the first time in two years someone other than 41-year-old Schwarzer will play between the sticks for Australia.

While Langerak is seen by many as the nation's next long-term No.1 goalkeeper, the Borussia Dortmund shot stopper isn't viewing the match as a chance to push his claims for the top spot at next year's World Cup.

But should he win selection, as expected, he won't be lacking in confidence.

After several call-ups to the national squad under Schwarzer's watch in recent years and an impressive first Champions League start for his German club last week, Langerak is starting to feel a sense of belonging at the top level.

"I've really matured as a player and a person over the last couple of years and that's something I've really started to notice," Langerak told AAP on Tuesday.

"I'm more relaxed in a game now, in training and especially just being around the squad.

"The first couple of times you come in, you're quiet and you don't know your place as such.

"Now I've been around a little while, I'm comfortable and really enjoying it."

In his fourth season at Dortmund since joining from Melbourne Victory, Langerak is slowly starting to secure more game time behind the club's No.1 goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.

Langerak impressed in place of the suspended Weidenfeller in a 3-0 Champions League win over Olympique Marseille last week.

That form is likely to earn him first shot against France ahead of fellow talented youngster Mat Ryan, who should also see some game in the next two matches.

But Langerak isn't letting thoughts of deposing Schwarzer - or preserving his place in a crowded Australian goalkeeping pecking order - cloud his focus.

"This is just my first game," Langerak said.

"It's important for me to put in a good performance for myself so the coach can see what I can do, but it's nothing more than that.

"Hopefully if I play a part I can do well and I'm confident in the team and that we can really put up a fight."

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