thumbnail Hello,

It's been a long wait for the former Sydney FC and Derby County man to return to the international stage, but he finally ended the drought against South Korea on Saturday

Ruben Zadkovich is delighted to have made his first appearance for Australia since 2009, after finally overcoming the injury problems that dogged his early career.

Zadkovich started for the Socceroos in their 0-0 draw against South Korea at the EAFF East Asian Cup on Saturday, ending a four-year wait to pull on the national team shirt again since his only previous run-out against China in 2009.

While disappointed with Australia's struggles in the game against the host nation in Seoul, the 27-year-old midfielder made no secret of his pleasure at earning a second cap for his country.

"On a personal note it was really great to be in the green and gold again," he said.

"It really was a nice feeling, but the game probably didn't pan out the way I would have liked. It was a little bit of a tough game for me individually and the team."

Zadkovich looked on track to join the ranks of Australian players impressing in Europe when he sealed a transfer to Derby County in 2008, but a succession of serious groin problems scuppered his chances of making a name for himself at Pride Park.

Now an established A-League player and captain of Newcastle Jets, Zadkovich understandably choose to look on the bright side when quizzed on his failure to make it overseas.

"Yeah I think that's the way football goes and the way life seems to go," he said.

"Back then when I got that opportunity to go to Derby it seemed like everything was going great. I signed for Derby and then had the [2008 Beijing] Olympics and it was the game against Argentina when I tore my groin and that's pretty much when my injury problems started.

"It depends how you way things up in your footballing life. Right now I am back at a place in Australia which is a great place to live, I'm playing for a team that has great fans, they're very working class, blue collar, I've made myself captain of that team and I'm very proud to be captain of Newcastle.

"Now I'm back in the green and gold, so I guess things happen for a reason and I could probably say I was a little bit unlucky but then, on the other flip of the coin, I could also look at it that I'm very lucky, because there's some good players and good friends of mine who aren't even playing the game anymore who, when they were 19 or 20 were playing for Australia."

"People like Jacob Timpano, he's captain of a state league side, Wollongong Wolves, he's one of the best defenders I've ever played with or ever seen. He had ridiculous amounts of injury problems. I still keep in contact with Jake, so for me, I consider myself lucky. I like to look at it as the glass is half full, not half empty.

"Even though in those tough times it's hard to see it like that, where I am right now, playing football for Newcastle and back in the Australian game, I really am enjoying life and I'm grateful for it."

Zadkovich's next challenge is to keep his place in Australia's starting line-up for the match against Japan at Hwaseong Stadium on Thursday, as he bids to stay in the plans of head coach Holger Osieck.

Goal Australia has its own and account, so for all the latest news and features on Australian football follow us by clicking on the above links

Related

From the web