Zullo's future remains 'up in the air'

Michael Zullo admits he faces a make-or-break 12 months in his career as he aims to win back his spot in the FC Utrecht and Socceroos line-ups.

The 25-year-old is contracted for one more season at Utrecht where he says he has “unfinished business” after spending last term on loan at Adelaide United.

Zullo conceded to FourFourTwo his Utrecht future was “up in the air”, but remains hopeful of regaining his first-team spot following a change of coach at the Eredivisie outfit.

The fringe Socceroo was out of favour under coach Jan Wouters who departed at the end of the 2013-14 campaign. Assistant Rob Alflen, who Zullo knows well, was elevated to the top job and the experienced Co Adriaanse has taken over as technical director.

However, Utrecht haven't ruled out hiring an experienced coach to ease Alflen’s transition into the top job. Zullo’s direct competition at left-back, Davy Bulthuis, has also been linked with a move away from the club ensuring the Australian still has no certainty on his future.

“Everything is up in the air at the moment,” Zullo told FourFourTwo.

“We’ll see what happens with the coaching situation there. Everything changes so quickly in football.

“At the end of last season under Wouters, I knew I wasn’t in his plans so that was a clear message.

“It’s similar to what happened to Adam Sarota a few years ago, he was asked to go on loan and two months later he was in the starting line-up and he stayed there. A lot can change really quickly in Europe.”

Since leaving Adelaide, the left-back has spent the past month in his native Brisbane where he’s currently living with his parents, but will depart for the Netherlands in three weeks’ time to link up with Utrecht for pre-season.

It’s been a busy period for Zullo who found it hard to hide his disappointment at missing the Socceroos’ World Cup squad, having modelled the side’s new strip only months ago with Mark Bresciano at Sydney's Walsh Bay.

Zullo admitted he was surprised that Postecoglou opted for only one dedicated left-back in the preliminary 30-man squad, but saw that as an opportunity for him looking ahead.

The Brisbane-born talent is determined to win back his Socceroos spot via good club form, stating being part of the 2015 Asian Cup is his next goal.

“It’s about picking myself up, moving on and focusing on the coming season because it’s such an important time in my career,” Zullo said.

“I’ve got one year left on my deal and this season could change a lot.

“I’ve got a lot of unfinished business, because it didn’t really work out the first time at Utrecht.

“It was a mixture of everything, with injuries, a bit of bad luck and it being really competitive in my position.”

For now, Zullo is playing the waiting game but if it eventuates that he is surplus to requirements at Utrecht, he refused to rule out returning to Adelaide where he enjoyed a good spell in 2013-14.

“I’m open to all kinds of possibilities, staying at Utrecht, moving on, basically what’s best for my career,” Zullo said.

“It’s never been financial, but more about the opportunity to further my career.

“I want to make the best decision for my career so I can play at the highest level I possibly can and also to experience success on a team level.”

Meanwhile, Adelaide assistant coach Mike Valkanis said the club would plan for the new season with the assumption Zullo won’t be returning.

“We’re waiting for Utrecht - we know we have to have a plan B,” Valkanis said.

“Zullo is Josep’s (Gombau) first preference, he had a tremendous season for us and fits into the make-up of the whole squad but we won’t leave it to the last moment.”