Jamie Maclaren declared the lure of consistent game time with an eye to landing the Socceroos' No.9 role was central in his decision to re-sign with A-League club Melbourne City.
The 27-year-old rejected overseas interest to sign a two-year contract extension with City until the end of the 2023/24 season.
He will spend at least the next three years at this season's premiers plate winners alongside fellow Socceroos forwards Mathew Leckie, a recent signing, and Andrew Nabbout.
Maclaren said he'd turned down offers from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and America in favour of being confident and in-form at City, ahead of the Socceroos' World Cup qualifiers and potential campaign at Qatar 2022.
"You've got to be playing regularly. There's no point in going somewhere and realising that you're not going to be playing regular football," Maclaren said.
"Because for me, at 27, I've got a lot of important years coming up and there's no better place than (here).
"One thing that (Graham Arnold) has made very public is he wants his players playing.
"So there's no point going to a league or going overseas where you're not guaranteed (game time).
"I went to Germany and I got played as a No.10 (at SV Darmstadt) and before I knew it, I went from being a striker to changing positions.
"It didn't suit me and I lost the chance to go to the Socceroos' Honduras game for the qualifiers, and that was when they qualified that time. Little things like that, they add up."
Maclaren said he'd spoken with Leckie in camp about his future and knowing his Socceroos teammate was joining had made his decision to re-sign even easier.
Maclaren scored 25 goals for City this league season, his second consecutive golden boot, playing a major role in City securing the premiers plate before departing for the Socceroos' World Cup qualifiers.
He is in hotel quarantine and unavailable for this week's grand final, but his long-term re-signing is massive, just days out from arguably the biggest game in City's history.
Maclaren is set to see out the prime of his career at City but was unsure whether he'd ultimately retire there.
"I don't want to look too far beyond three years, but at the same time I'll look to enjoy these years and play some good football in the remainder of my prime years," he said.
"My contract will finish when I'm 30 and whatever happens after that (we'll see).
Australian Associated Press