Australian teenager Anthony Kalik is eyeing a big season with Hajduk Split ahead of the start of the Croatian Prva HNL this weekend with a view to breaking into the Socceroos.
Kalik, 18, broke into the Hajduk starting line-up last term, making 12 appearances after his January loan move from Central Coast Mariners.
The young midfielder made the switch permanent in May, signing a four-year deal and is now looking to kick on.
He was left on the bench in Hajduk’s 2-2 Europa League draw at Romanian club CSMS Iasi on Thursday by new boss Marijan Pusnik but is hopeful of playing in their opening league fixture away to Cibalia on Sunday.
“I felt like when I came in halfway through the season I worked hard to get into the starting XI,” Kalik told FourFourTwo.
“Once I was there I basically played every game until the end of the season. Now I’m looking to build on that.
“I’ve just got to keep working hard. I want to cement my spot in the starting XI.
“Hopefully with all that hard work I want to make the Socceroos squad. I know that’ll take time, but I just have to work hard until I get there.”
Kalik, who has featured regularly in pre-season, hasn’t been playing his natural number 10 role behind the striker, but said he has enjoyed his midfield position.
“I’ve been playing as a number eight in between the midfield,” he said.
“It’s been good, I’ve had freedom to go around. I get the ball a lot of the time which is good, I like to get on it and play things fast forward.
“I like to play a bit higher up, more as a 10 behind the striker, but this is fine. I can play anywhere in the midfield so it doesn’t faze me.”
— HNK Hajduk Split (@hajduk) July 14, 2016
The Sydney-born youngster admitted the change of manager had created some uncertainty about his first-team chances.
Kalik earned his long-term deal under previous coach Damir Buric but is determined to impress 55-year-old Slovenian Pusnik.
“When I came in the coach was quite pleased with me. He basically offered me the contract straight away,” Kalik said.
“That was a great feeling to see that he had faith in me and he thought I was worthy of a four-year deal, so I couldn’t be happier.
“It’s hard with a new manager coming in, it’s hard to tell already.
“But I’ve got one thing to do, it is play football, work hard and prove to him that I’m ready to start. It’s all up to me.”
Kalik said Hajduk’s ambition for the campaign was to win the Croatian title for the first time since 2005 and added regular game-time was his personal goal with a long-term view to the national team.
“That’s my ambition at the moment,” he said. “I want to play at Hajduk as much as possible and then make the Socceroos, so I’ll be working hard to do that.”comments