January 2, 2015 – 10:00PM
Aziz Behich is back in his home town and feeling good.
The left back traded the freezing weather of Turkey for Melbourne’s scorching heat, but the source of his optimism is a feeling that Australia can go all the way in the Asian Cup, which starts with the Socceroos clash with Kuwait on Friday.
Behich, who has played for both of Melbourne’s A-League teams before a stint at Turkish Super League club Bursaspor, said the players sensed there was nothing stopping them winning the Asian Cup if everything went to plan, but warned that every team in the competition was strong and would prove to be tough opponents.
“Being on home soil, it’s an advantage, as well as having the crowd behind us, I think we’ll use that,” he said.
He had been called up to play for the Socceroos previously, but lost the interest of selectors after moving overseas.
“It feels good to be back, being involved in the national team, playing for your country is a good feeling,” he said
Behich struggled when he first left the then Melbourne Heart (now City) to play for Bursaspor in 2013.
Returning to Australia on a season-long loan, he impressed with the Heart then travelled back to Turkey for another crack at his dream of playing in Europe.
It was an easier move the second time around Behich said, because he went in more familiar with Bursaspor and its culture.
He also got much more attention and, consequently, game time.
“It’s always hard getting transferred mid-season when the team’s doing well, [but] a lot’s changed with the club, a new coach and different views,” he said.
Playing in the A-League in the meantime was the right choice, because it was an opportunity to get a good amount of match time, rather than sitting on the sidelines.
“It’s difficult for a player if you’re not playing,” he said.
“I think it was the right time for me just to get back, to keep my legs ticking over and get some games under my belt.”
Behich is slated to play left back for the Socceroos, but like other players, was adamant no position was safe as the team entered a week of training in preparation for the Kuwait match.
He said the team was very confident about their chances in the tournament opener and wanted not only to win, but to win well.
“Obviously the important thing is to win but we’ve got a style that we want to play as a team,” he said.
The Socceroos trained an hour earlier than usual at the Westpac Centre, Collingwood AFL club’s training ground on Friday, in an attempt to avoid the heat of a scorching Melbourne day.
It was a significant change for Behich, who had left freezing weather in Turkey just days ago.
But long range Bureau of Meteorology forecasts suggest the Socceroos may battle hot weather in the lead up to the big match, predicting a 34 degree day on Wednesday and 33 on Thursday.
Source : The Brisbane Times