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HOW THE A-LEAGUE COMPARES TO ENGLAND

Life in Australia couldn’t be much better, to be honest.

 

My family took a significant risk moving to the other side of the world, but it has worked out perfectly so far. The biggest concern for me was making sure we were settled off the pitch but getting into Australian life has been an easy transition and Sydney FC have been fantastic every step of the way.

 

It’s not too dissimilar to back home. My wife, Amy, and our three daughters are loving it and I can’t ask for anything more than that.

 

Amy and I have been together since the very start of my career. She’s been my rock, keeping me grounded at home and I couldn’t have achieved what I have without her and our girls – Amelia, Ariana and Aubree – supporting me every step of the way.

 

I really appreciate their courage in moving to the other side of the world for my career.

 

 

On the park, I always knew things would work out. I believed in myself and my ability to impact games and score goals. I’m 32-years-old, not 37!

 

I’ve had a decent career, but in this game if you’re not trying to improve you’re going backwards. That’s why I’ve come to Australia. I believe playing for Sydney FC can make me a better footballer.

 

I’ve noticed a few differences between football here and back home.

 

There’s a bit more intensity in English football matches, where there are typically a lot more turnovers, with teams looking to counter quickly. You especially notice this in the Championship, where it’s not really possession-based.

 

I got to play against some of the best defenders of the last 25 years in John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. To have had an impact against players like that still has me buzzing.

 

In the A-League, it’s more about the slow build-up play. You need a really good passing structure to exploit other teams, as well as a strong defensive unit that can break up play and launch quick counters. In that way, this Sydney FC team is set up perfectly for me. I’ve been delighted with the chances the boys are creating for me and the standard of the whole group is really good - much higher than I expected.

 

I’ve got a team that allow me to play my natural game, where I can get in behind and get on the end of chances. Obviously, I’ve got to work hard and impact the game, but all I really want to do is score goals.

 

That’s how I was raised. For me, scoring goals is the be-all and end-all.

 

I’ve set myself the massive target of beating Bobo’s tally of 27 goals from last season, which was an A-League record. It’s important for footballers to aim high because, without being disrespectful, if I came over and tried to get 15 I think that’s what I’d end up with.

 

I don’t want to just score 15 goals, though. I want to score as many as I can because that’s how I will be judged. Pretty much every year of my career, I’ve been the leading goal scorer at my club and I’m determined to continue that at Sydney FC.

 

Dad still keeps my feet on the ground. He watches every Sydney game on BT Sport back home and gets in touch afterwards to tell me all the things I could have done better.

 

He’s my biggest fan but he’s not short of an opinion.

 

Now that I’m older, I appreciate that more than ever.

 

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