Newcastle Jets Player of the Year Josh Brillante says his immediate focus is making the Socceroos’ World Cup squad and not a European move.
Brillante, 21, was crowned Newcastle’s top player for the 2013-14 campaign on Saturday night, recognition which he called a “privilege”.
The season may have come to a close for the Jets on Friday night, but Brillante will continue to work towards World Cup selection.
Brillante debuted in green and gold at last year’s EAFF East Asian Cup and has been rated a chance for the squad for Brazil given his versatility as a midfielder/full-back, ala Mark Milligan in 2006.
The Jets squad will train three-to-four times a week up until the A-League Grand Final to maintain fitness ahead of a long off-season. Brillante revealed that he will do extra work on top of that to keep his World Cup dream alive.
Brillante, who holds an Italian passport, was linked with Lazio, Schalke and Everton 12 months ago after impressing at the Under-20 World Cup but told FourFourTwo for now he’s focused on training hard for the next month rather than chasing a European move.
“I’m not sure (about European interest) at this stage,” said Brillante, who inked a one-year extension with the Jets in February.
"I haven’t spoken with my agent since we finished the season. I’ll keep training and wait and see.”
Brillante added: “Everyone hopes to be a part of the Socceroos and especially to go away to the World Cup. What an experience that would be.
“I’m going to keep training and working hard up until they announce the squad. If I’m lucky enough to get picked it’ll be awesome. If not, I’ll take a little break.”
Brillante has Italian heritage but grew up watching the English Premier League and admitted playing in Europe is his dream.
“I’ve always dreamed to go over there and play in one of the big leagues,” Brillante said. “Hopefully sooner rather than later that can come true.”
The Bundaberg-born talent said he’d gained plenty of confidence in 2013-14, having produced more consistent performances when played in a variety of different positions.
He also praised interim coach Clayton Zane for his influence in backing him in and giving him a regular game at right full-back.
"He had faith in me which helped a lot,” Brillante said.
“I wanted to be playing in the midfield but it was tough when Ruben (Zadkovich) and Zenon (Caravella) were doing well there, so going to right-back meant I could play a role for the team.”
Brillante said Zane would continue to do a good job for the club if given the coaching role permanently.
“He’s done pretty well since he came in,” Brillante said. “It’s always tough starting mid-season, taking over a team and putting in place the things you want to do. He’s done a good job.”
He also backed team-mate and A-League Golden Boot winner Adam Taggart to be on the plane to Brazil.
“A young striker who can score goals, I think that’d be pretty handy for Australia,” Brillante said.1 comment