Talented Australian centre half Luke DeVere says he may soon be on the lookout for a new club with politics driving him out of K-League outfit Gyeongnam FC.
DeVere was outstanding in his first two seasons in Korea following his move from Brisbane Roar, but has struggled for game-time since taking time off in late 2012 to resolve ongoing meniscus problems after knee surgery at the end of the 2011 campaign.
The 24-year-old defender, whose current contract expires at the end of the K-League season, thought his luck might be set to change after netting the winner in Gyeongnam’s opening game of the season last month.
However, DeVere lost his spot in the side after Gyeongnam were defeated in their next game. He feels he was made a “scapegoat” and a return hasn’t been forthcoming.
“There hasn’t been the amount of game-time I was after in the past year,” DeVere told FourFourTwo.
“I was hoping that might change at the start of the season and it was looking promising, but the way it is over here sometimes they’ve got their mind set on something and they’re going to follow through with it.
“There’s a few things going on at the club which are out of my control.
“If games aren’t forthcoming here, hopefully some opportunities will come up and I’ll be allowed to move on.”
DeVere preferred not to elaborate on the political issues he claims are keeping him out of the first team, but said upon his return from time off in early 2013 things had changed.
A new president took over at Gyeongnam, appointing a new coach only months into the 2013 season and replacing Choi Jin-Han who had signed DeVere.
The Australian was frozen out – a predicament that has DeVere weighing up his future. He admits he still dreams of playing in Europe and refuses to rule out an Australian return.
“If opportunities come up I’ll approach them as they come,” DeVere said.
“Down the track who knows where I’ll end up, if it’s overseas or back in Australia, but I wouldn’t ever rule out a move to Europe.”
DeVere’s recent struggles have made for a wildly contrasting three years in Korea for the ex-Australia youth international, who was criticised by Fox Sports pundit Robbie Slater when he opted to move to the K-League in 2011 rather than stay with Ange Postecoglou’s all-conquering Roar or head for Europe.
“I know there was a bit of controversy at the time I moved but overall it’s been positive,” DeVere said.
“The K-League offered me a new challenge after three years in the A-League. I hoped it would help me improve as a player, develop my agility and speed and it did that for me in the first two years.
“I felt like I was faster, stronger and a better player but obviously the last year or so, without games, it hasn’t been ideal.”
Slater’s criticism of DeVere came after the player was billed a future Socceroo with the pundit believing the move showed a lack of ambition.
Current Australia boss Postecoglou knows DeVere well from their time together at Brisbane and is undertaking an East Asian scouting visit where he may try to witness the defender first hand.
Despite this, the uncapped player, who received a handful of call-ups from ex-Australia coach Holger Osieck, conceded he was a “long shot” for the 2014 World Cup.
“It would be a great thing to be a part of, but I’m not expecting a spot,” DeVere said. “If you asked anyone it’s a long shot.”1 comment