Tommy Oar out to impress after going unnoticed in Cyprus

The Mariners winger is ready to turn heads this season

He may been playing in Champions League qualifiers and ended the season as a league champion with APOEL, but Tommy Oar found attention hard to come by in Cyprus.

The former Socceroo has returned to Australia with Central Coast Mariners this season and is determined to impress in front of fans that may have forgotten him to some degree.

"Playing in Cyprus, whether I was playing or not playing, people don’t really notice when you’re playing in some of those European leagues," Oar told Goal.

"They don’t see you every weekend. Whereas playing in the A-League you’re constantly in the picture, in the frame and you know that if you perform well people will notice it.

"Last year we won the league title, I was an important part of the team winning that title and I played 27-28 games, so for me personally it was quite a successful year.

"For whatever reason you maybe don’t get quite the recognition if you do well when you’re not playing in front of people’s eyes every weekend.

"I just thought to get back in the picture, perform well and get back on the radar for the national team, it was important for me to play in a league that people would notice what I was doing."

That realisation has brought the 26-year-old back to Australia and ultimately to the Mariners where he's linked up with former coach Mike Mulvey. 

While yet to win and handed a 3-0 defeat last time out against Adelaide United, Oar is adamant he's chosen the right club.

"I thought at this stage of my career it was important to come back somewhere where I was comfortable, where I knew the manager and where I could just focus on playing some football and getting my form back to where I know I can get it to," he said.

"For me it ticked all the boxes. This year there’s a new wave of positivity coming through the club.

"At this stage I’m certain I made the right decision."

Tommy Oar Central Coast Mariners

Prior to arriving on the Central Coast, Oar found himself surplus to requirements in Cyprus when APOEL exceeded their foreign quota.

With his time there ending somewhat abruptly, the Aussie holds no bad feelings towards the club and wasn't all that surprised considering the nature of league.

"It’s a very hostile part of the world when it comes to football," Oar said.

"I was there for 15-16 months and had five or six coaches so that kind of paints a bit of a picture of the nature of how things go over there. With each of the different coaches, I had a bit of a different experience.

"At the start of pre-season we signed a lot of players and we had a foreign quota rule over there so we had way too many foreigners on the books so the club told me I was free to find a new club. But I still had two years on my contract so there’s a lot of complexities that come up with that scenario so the PFA were extremely helpful and found a solution that was good for both parties.

"That was it really, I still have a good relationship with the club and speak with people there all the time. It was nothing too sinister in that regard, it’s just the way football goes sometimes. The turnover of players in Cyprus, especially at APOEL, has always been quite big, so I didn’t take it personally, it’s just the way it goes."

Back in Australia and on the A-League radar, Oar could well catch the eye of a vigilant Graham Arnold, who's determined to give A-League players a chance with the Socceroos.

Though something he certainly wouldn't say no to, the 29-time capped Socceroo knows where his attention must rest this season.

"My focus is purely on the Mariners, I just know from experience in the past that when you focus on club football the rest just takes care of itself," he said.

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"In the back of the mind you do know that being back here, playing in the A-League, you will get a chance if you deserve to get it."

Though determined to impress on the pitch this season, Oar has cast his attention ever so slightly to life after football as he embarks on the early stages of a law degree. 

A fitting choice for a player out to convince Australia he's still the talented footballer that turned heads just a few years ago in a green and gold shirt.