From Manchester to the Middle East, Anthony Caceres out to stake his claim with Melbourne City

The Manchester City loanee has had a whirlwind few years but remains focused on his football

After a challenging but enjoyable season in the Middle East with Al-Wasl, Anthony Caceres is back in the A-League with Melbourne City and looking to impress. 

Technically owned by Premier League champions Manchester City after being bought from Central Coast Mariners in 2016, the 25-year-old admits that fact has taken some getting used to. 

"I remember at the time it didn’t really sink in until everything was done and dusted," Caceres told Goal

"It felt too good to be true and then it happened and what can I say, I’ve got ties to the biggest club in England and the world.

"So at the time it was unbelievable and hopefully I can make the most of the opportunity still."

While growing up in awe of Arsenal's Invincibles, it's safe to say the midfielder is now well and truly a City fan.

Though unlikely to ever be called up by the club, the Premier League giants are keeping a close eye on Caceres and play a big role in where he plays his football.

Initially loaned to sister club Melbourne City in 2016, a move to the Middle East was arranged last season as Caceres lined up in the heat of the UAE.

Anthony Caceres

Playing in scorching temperatures, the football there allowed Caceres to embrace his attacking side. 

"It’s a more open game and over there the climate influences a lot," he said.

"A lot of it is based around an individual’s ability to do something and affect the result. The clubs over there are really stable financially and able to bring in some top quality players from Brazil and Europe.

"Playing against quality players it allowed me to lift my game and take responsibility on the field."

His first time playing abroad, Caceres savoured the experience and admits if anything, he was somewhat spoiled living in the glamour of Dubai.

Despite being back in the cold of Melbourne, he's ready to hit the ground running and put in the hard work to earn a place in Warren Joyce's side. 

"Before leaving it was in my plans to return at some point. I think the year away did me good," Caceres said. 

"I was able to kind of reassess my game, learn a lot from a different culture and a different style of football. So I think I come back better prepared to hopefully have a really good season."

Anthony Caceres

Having worked briefly with Joyce prior to leaving for the Middle East, Caceres believes the City coach can get the best out of him.

"I worked with him for a month before going to Dubai," he said.

"I think he can bring the best out of me as a player and help me improve upon my weaknesses.

"Looking forward to growing as a player and hopefully that will allow me to play a big role in a successful season." 

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Making his A-League debut at the Mariners in 2013, Caceres revealed the big role then coach Graham Arnold had in his development as a footballer. 

"Obviously he is the one that brought me up into the first team from the youth team and working with him he really knows how to manage and get the best out of his players," Caceres said.

"With me it was my first time with a first-grade side and he made me feel comfortable and also push myself to become a better footballer, so I really enjoyed my time working with him."