JAMES Younghusband made sure not to waste a rare opportunity with the Philippine football team as the Azkals ran through Nepal, 4-1, in the opener of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Dropped two years ago and rarely used since a return to the lineup last year, the veteran Azkals midfielder started for the first time in a long while after Kevin Ingreso suffered a hamstring injury two days before their home fixture.
He didn't disappoint.
While his brother Phil made the headlines by notching a brace, the 30-year-old James ably filled the void left by Ingreso on the midfield, helping put pressure on Nepal.
"I'm just happy to be part of the squad. I see that now I'm one of the oldest player in the squads but I just keep going and be there whenever the coach needs me," Younghusband said after his 81st appearance for the senior squad.
"We've had a few injuries this week so I was given a chance, I really enjoyed being out there today," he added.
The start also comes as a big boost in morale for Younghusband with the Philippine Football League set to open in less than two months.
"I think it's a bit difficult. I'm technically not yet ready cause our league haven't started yet. Hopefully when the PFL starts we'll get up to speed cause we play once a week," Younghusband said.
"Me and my brother and some other players from other clubs are just looking forward for the season to start to get our match fitness. I think it helped, the Malaysia game, to get used to the speed."