Ex-Wigan Aussie starlet eyes A-League deal

Former Leeds and Wigan striker Patrick Antelmi is heading home to Australia and is after a spot in the A-League.

The centre forward, who signed with Portsmouth as a 15-year-old from Blacktown City, has been based in the UK for nearly five years.

Antelmi was released by Wigan at the end of last season, after joining from Leeds, and has been trialling with several English clubs since.

“It wasn’t just me that got released, it was the whole reserve team,” he told FourFourTwo.

“They let our agents know that basically the gaffer was under a lot of pressure to get into the Premier League and that’s where Wigan wanted to be again.

“And if they were to get into the Premier League next season the gaffer needed a bigger budget to get the players to get back into the Premier League.

“It was a real shame because we won the reserve league, Category 2, we won our Cup final. I did get joint top goal scorer with another striker.”

Since being released by Wigan the former Joeys attacker trialled with Ispwich Town.

“I was only there for two days but I liked it,” Antelmi said.

“Mark Kennedy, the coach of Ipswich Under-21s, said he wanted to sign me. Mick McCarthy liked me as well but he was very forward and told me that he did sign another striker from Dortmund, and he did have a lot of strikers that would block my path.

“He was just honest and truthful, which I did respect a lot.”

Antelmi also played in a friendly match with Macclesfield Town, scoring a goal, and went on trial at Tranmere.

“The whole week I was there and the gaffer only saw me train twice,” he said.

“He said I did really well but I think he just took the position of his assistant coach and I don’t think they were looking for an attacker. It is very frustrating.

“It is frustrating for me but I’ve kept my head up to know that there’ll be an opportunity for me. I’m pretty sure somebody will see my hard work and the goals that I’ve scored and the non-stop fighting to keep going. I’m sure something will happen.”

Antelmi is returning to Australia and targeting a place with an A-League or National Premier League club and says he has only positives from his time in the UK.

“I don’t have any regrets,” Antelmi said.

“I take everything that happened bad as something you learn from. It’s been good, I’ve enjoyed the journey.

“The A-League was always an option. In the back of my mind, I always felt it would be beautiful to come and play at home and in front my family. I think it’s a different feeling to come home to your own country and play there.”