True blue: Janko chooses Sydney over Brazil

His desire to please new club Sydney FC is the reason Marc Janko turned his back on a shot at captaining his nation against Brazil.

The Austrian skipper was supposed to be in action for his nation against the Selecao on Wednesday morning (AEDST) but is instead back in Sydney preparing for the Sky Blues’ clash with Melbourne City on Saturday night.

After helping Austria move to the top of the European Championships qualifying group with a win over Russia last week, the giant attacker decided to return early rather than take on the Samba stars.

If he stayed, Janko wouldn’t have returned to Australia until Friday and would have been at long odds for the trip to AAMI Park to face City.

“It was a tough decision to make because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to play against Brazil, but I chose not to play this game to be ready for the game against Melbourne on the weekend,” Janko told the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.

“I wanted to be fresh and in good shape and if I had played Brazil I would have played with huge jet lag and the risk of getting injured is very high.

“I didn’t want to take that risk, so I decided to come back earlier and deny that big game because I want to please Sydney FC as well and I respect that I have a contract here.”

The selfless gesture was appreciated by the Sky Blues, who have enjoyed a strong start to the season and are unbeaten through the first six rounds.

Janko, who scored a stunning debut goal in the A-League against Brisbane in round three, has been an important figure in the side’s form.

“I’m very happy with our performances so far,” he said.

“The most important thing was to strengthen our defence when I got here because last year we let a huge amount of goals in against us.

“And defensive work starts with me as a front man, so it’s always a lot of work, but I also respect that I have to participate in the defensive job as well.

“I already call Sydney home, so that means a lot. I’m feeling very happy in Sydney and I can already imagine staying a little bit longer.”

Janko will not be the only big name to return for the clash with City, with star midfielder Terry Antonis back after missing last weekend’s draw with Melbourne Victory.