Mitchell Duke eyes European move after Japanese adventure ends in frustration

Mitchell Duke
The Aussie has an English visa and is keen to ply his trade on another continent

After four rollercoaster seasons in Japan with Shimizu Pulse, Mitchell Duke is ready for his next ride and is a real chance of cracking it in Europe. 

Currently in England, the 27 year old attacker arrives bolstered with an English visa and a burning desire to turn his European dream into a reality.

"I do have my English visa and am eligible to play here from now so England could be a possibility, but there’s a lot to consider with my decision making," Duke told Goal.

"To be honest, I am still holding a bit of hope for a taste of European football as I am getting 27 and the older you get the more difficult the opportunity will be to come by, so I am open to many possibilities."

Duke trained with West Ham briefly in 2013 and five years later now has considerable experience in Asia under his belt.

After breaking through with A-League side Central Coast Mariners, the Aussie moved to Japan in 2015, signing for J-League side Shimizu.

While his first season abroad would end in relegation, the club bounced straight back up to the J-League, where Duke became a regular starter for the side.

That wasn't the case in their last campaign however as a surplus of foreigners saw his game time limited and ultimately saw him depart the club.

"This year was a bit frustrating personally as I was dealing with a situation where only four foreigners can play in a match day squad, but my team had five in the team so that meant one of us would miss out each game," he said 

"The two centre backs and main striker were set to play, which meant me and one other were kind of rotating in and out which yes was very frustrating as I would start one game, play well, win and then next game I would be dropped to give the other guy a game which became very frustrating.

"That was the main reason I was ready to leave, I made the decision I wanted to leave during the World Cup break because the last three seasons, other than 2016 season where I did my ACL after round 7, every time I was available to play I was starting and mostly playing full games."


2015...2016...2017...2018 My time at this great club has now come to an end after four incredible seasons with S-Pulse! Thank you for all the amazing memories that I will keep with me forever. I have gained a massive amount of respect for everyone who works at this club, from the players to all the staff behind the scene! The guys are incredible! Thank you for making me feel so welcome from the very beginning! I will miss playing in front of you all at the home stadium, it was one amazing atmosphere at every game! I wish the club all the best for the future, But now it’s time for me to enjoy my next chapter, wherever that may be! ——————————————————————————— 4年の素晴らしいシーズンを経て、この偉大なクラブとのお別れの時がきました。 一生の記憶に残る、素晴らしい思い出をありがとうございました。 選手達、裏方のスタッフ、このクラブで働く全ての人を尊敬しています! ファンのみんな、ワーォ、みんなは本当に素晴らしいです!この地にやってきた当初から、私を温かく受け入れてくれてありがとうございました。 アイスタでみんなの前でプレーすることが出来ず、さみしくなりますが、毎試合最高の雰囲気でした。 クラブの今後の成功を願っています、しかしどこに行くかまだわかりませんが、人生の次の章を楽しむ時がきました。 応援ありがとうございました! みんなとまた会える日を楽しみにしています! ミッチェル デューク 🧡🧡🧡

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Though ending in frustration, Duke's Japanese adventure had plenty of highs and lows with the Aussie, raised in Sydney's west, adapting quickly to the culture.

"I couldn’t say there was one individual moment that sticks out as I didn’t experience any silverware, instead it was more of a fighting for survival," he said.

"But I have to say that when we got relegated and then next season got promoted straight back up was a massive moment.

"The Japanese way of life was very easy to adapt to as their culture is just so respectful, they make it easy for you to feel comfortable but I wish I learnt the language more as the language barrier was a bit tough at times."

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With a number of A-League clubs crying out for an attacker like Duke, the player himself hasn't ruled out a return to the competition he won in 2013 but clearly is keen to test himself abroad a little longer. 

"I’m definitely not against a return to the A-League as I believe it is a great level of football and amazing lifestyle, but ideally I would like to keep testing myself overseas," he said.

"I just have to wait a bit longer to see what my options will be."