Interviews

Asia 50 Exclusive: His EPL dream within reach, Aaron Mooy is on top of the world

It’s been a stellar 12 months for Aaron Mooy; from a standout campaign in the A-League to a high-profile move to Manchester City and an outstanding season on-loan with Huddersfield Town, where he’s been recognised as one of the best players in the division. 

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Coming in at No.5 on FourFourTwo's annual Asia 50 list, all the way up from No.41 in 2016, the 26-year-old Socceroo joined us for an exclusive chat ahead of Huddersfield's Championship playoff against Reading on May 29 to discuss the season that was and his plans for the next 12 months.

FFT: Aaron, thank you for joining us. Firstly from the outside it looks as though these past 12 months have been the best of your career. How have you seen things both with Huddersfield and Australia?

AM: I agree, it’s pretty much been the best part of my career so far and I feel that I’m playing at a good level, a high level. I’m fortunate to be playing in a strong league and if you do that then good things can happen and I’m certainly happy with how things have gone at my club and with the national team recently.  

FFT: What have been the main parts of your game that you feel you’ve been able to improve over the past season?

AM: A lot of it comes down to the mental side of things. Sometimes you can get caught up in the emotional side of the game, but here in the Championship the games come so quickly that you barely have time to think where you might play one day and then two days later there’s another match and maybe you win or you lose, but the games keep on coming.

Mooy's A-League form catapulted him to Europe

It means if you have a bad result or even a good one you need to stay level-headed and as someone who didn’t know a great deal about that kind of environment before coming into this league, I certainly now have a new appreciation of the players who play here.

FFT: Do you feel you’ve improved technically as well with that constant stream of matches?

Obviously growing up the Premier League was on TV a lot and it’s a dream to be able to play over here in England

AM: Certainly there are other elements, physically it’s hard too and as I said the mental side of things is just so important because you can be up one day and down the next, but technically there are also benefits to that.

The game is certainly quicker and when that’s the case your decision-making naturally gets sharper; everything has to be done so much quicker at this level and with teams fighting for either promotion or relegation there’s so much that’s always on the line.

I feel I’ve improved a lot at this level.

FFT: You’re on loan from Manchester City and you’ve already been linked with a move to the Premier League, whether Huddersfield are promoted or with another club. Where would you like to see yourself 12 months from now?

AM: Well, everyone wants to play at the highest level and I’m no different and certainly the Premier League is the target, but I can’t afford to look too far ahead or get carried away with things.

Could Mooy be working under this man next season?

I need to focus on where I am at the moment and I have good people around me to look after the other things and I’m sure they’ll take care of themselves in time.

I’m just focusing on working hard to be the best player I can.

FFT: It’s been an impressive ride for you over the past couple of years, from playing in Australia to now being on the cusp of one of the biggest leagues in the world – where did it all begin for you and do you have to pinch yourself sometimes that you’re living out the dreams of many children all across the world?

AM: For me it all started as a child and I remember my mum telling me that one day I came home from school and asked for a ball and if I could join a local team and things just really grew from there, but I’ve always had a love for the game.

I wanted to be a professional and it didn’t matter in which league, but obviously growing up the Premier League was on TV a lot and it’s a dream to be able to play over here in England.

Sometimes it does get like that though where you stop and realise that you are actually living that dream and playing at a good level, but I also have to try to stay balanced and realise that I’m here for a reason and that’s because I’ve done well up to this point.

Even so, sometimes you do pinch yourself and think you just played against some of these famous old clubs, you’ve just walked off St. James Park or other places, and it’s a great feeling.

You remember that you deserve to be here but there’s still a lot of hard work to be done.

[UP NEXT: How the Socceroos are placed for another World Cup bid]