Wilkinson open to December A-League return

Socceroo Alex Wilkinson is open to an A-League return but won’t limit himself to his long-term former club Central Coast.

The 30-year-old central defender’s contract at Korean club Jeonbuk Motors expires in December and has recently been linked with the Mariners.

Speaking to FourFourTwo during the Socceroos training camp in Dubai, Wilkinson revealed he hasn’t been contacted by any A-League clubs at this stage.

Wilkinson’s Jeonbuk are enjoying plenty of success, having won the league title last year while they are currently top of the table and into the AFC Champions League quarter-finals.

On a personal note, Wilkinson was named in the 2014 K-League Team of the Year and said he and his family were settled in Korea.

Wilkinson has been in and out of the Jeonbuk starting line-up this year, which he said was due to their busy schedule, but that combined with being an out-of-contract foreigner creates some uncertainty about his future beyond December.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen then, six months is a long time in football,” Wilkinson told FourFourTwo.

“The A-League will definitely be an option but somewhere else in Asia or abroad could also be an option, or who knows we might stay in Korea.

“The picture will become clearer September or October.”

Wilkinson spent seven years at Central Coast and is the club’s second most capped player with 203 appearances in the yellow and navy, many wearing the captain’s armband.

He was part of a successful period for the club which included four Grand Final appearances and the 2012-13 championship, as well as two premierships.

However, the Sydney-born defender said he was open to joining any A-League club despite his attachment with the Mariners. 

“They’re a club who holds a special place in my heart but it all depends on - if and when I’m ready to come back to the A-League - what teams have spots available,” he said.

“You can’t always pick and choose. It’s about who’s interested and who has space on their roster.

“Obviously the Mariners are a special club for me, but the situation might work out where I don’t end up back there.”

In the more immediate future, Wilkinson is hoping to win a spot in the Socceroos starting line-up against Kyrgyzstan next Tuesday (midnight AEST) in Trent Sainsbury’s absence.

Wilkinson alongside Matt Spiranovic is the likely back pairing, but Bailey Wright and newcomer Tomislav Mrcela are in the mix.

“There’s no guarantees,” Wilkinson said.

“I’d love to play, I really enjoy playing for Australia. It’s the highlight of my career and I’ll be doing all I can to hopefully get a starting spot.”

Wilkinson confirmed he was injury free and in good shape, given he joined the camp midway through the Korean season, which may work in his favour.

“The games have been coming thick and fast in Korea, so that serves me pretty well fitness wise,” he said.

“I’m fighting fit and looking to impress in training and hopefully earn a starting spot.”

Australia's upcoming opponents Kyrgyzstan opened their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 3-1 win away to Bangladesh overnight.