Exclusive: Adam Dickinson Believes New Zealand Football Is On The Up

After recording their first ever victory in the Club World Cup, Auckland striker Adam Dickinson spoke of his joy exclusively to Goal.com...
Far from the location of Sting's popular song, 'An Englishman in New York', Adam Dickinson is an Englishman in Auckland. And after setting his side on the road to a comfortable victory against local side Al-Ahli, he is the toast of his city.

The 23-year-old striker pounced on a cross following a superb run by Jason Hayne, to steer the ball home from close range, on the stroke of half-time. Incredibly it was reminiscent of a recent strike by a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who fired in a similar goal for Barcelona against Real Madrid just over a week ago.

Speaking exclusively to Goal.com after the game, a buoyant Dickinson said the goal was no fluke.

"To be honest we've been working on a lot of crosses you know. That's part of the coaching staff's plan, so we have done really well to score a goal like that."

Auckland City is essentially an amateur club, but one of the most successful in New Zealand. They are already league leaders in the new season which has just kicked off. Their time here in Abu Dhabi has been a healthy combination of hard work on the training pitch, a touch of tourism but also of surprises.

None more so then when coach Paul Posa invited the team's liaison officer to join in one training session ahead of Wednesday's game. The officer in question being the Lebanese women's international midfielder, 24-year-old Nadine Schtakleff, who is attached to the team as one of the Arabic to English translators.

But for all the obvious camaraderie that exits within Auckland City, what was it that drove a young player playing youth football with  Tranmere Rovers in the north west of England to go to New Zealand?

"Well actually I just got a call from them and was asked If I would like to go over there. I just jumped at the opportunity to play for a club like Auckland City. And look I have ended up playing in a tournament like this one. So obviously I think it's worked out very well," Dickinson added.

"Its a different type of game to what I grew up in, but you know New Zealand football is on the up, with the national team qualifying for the World Cup, and now us doing so well by getting our first ever win here."

Dickinson may be British, but he was at the game when New Zealand qualified for South Africa and said it was an exciting moment for everyone.

"It was just like being in England and an English game. The atmosphere was just incredible and I think they really deserved to qualify," Dickinson grinned.

"Of course being a Pom (a mocking nickname given to British people by New Zealanders and Australians) I do get a bit of banter now and then but it's all good."

The victory for Auckland can't be understated. This after all is the first time a team from Oceania has won a first round game at the Club World Cup.

"Oh this is massive!" Dickinson exclaims. "It's unbelievable, it's going to put us on the world stage again, just like the national team did. It's just as I said before, New Zealand football is on the up and this is an incredible win for the club and also for the country."

With one team out of the way, on Saturday stands a much tougher challenge. The Mexican side Atlante, the CONCACAF Champions make their first appearance in the competition. Among their ranks is Santiago Solari a former Champions League winner with Real Madrid. But Dickinson is delighted with the opportunity

"Oh look to play against someone like that its incredible. For players like us to get a chance to do that is just a great honour and I am really looking forward to it," he concluded.

Ashish Sharma, Goal.com