Aussie keeper Vrteski delighted with Pobeda gamble

Life at the moment could not be better for the 19-year old who parted company with Perth Glory little over two months ago in pursuit of a professional contract with Macedonian champion Pobeda.

"Europe's an absolute blast," enthused Vrteski. "I've been at Pobeda for two months and everything has panned out fantastically."

Vrteski was well down the pecking roder when he arrived at Pobeda but has worked hard to force his way into the line-up.

"The club already had two 'keepers on their books when I arrived and the coaches said I needed to lose weight," he explained. "Under a training program which was more intense than anything I had ever experienced I shed twelve
kilograms, broke into the matchday squad and have been fortunate enough to play the last two league matches as well as a Cup game."

An Australian youth international, Vrteski admits a degree of frustration at not figuring more prominently Ron Smith's during his time with Glory.

"I was disappointed not to have played more but I think part of it was my problem as well," explained Vrteski, who was third choice being Tommi Tomich and Tando Velaphi at the start of the season. "I needed too stand out at training and be to be noticed, it wasn't good enough to be par with the other 'keepers."

Vrteski is surprised to see his former club stumping up the table and still seeking their first win of the season after twelve games.

"It's a massive surprise that they're struggling," he said. "Not being able to hit the back of the net has been their biggest problem, and they've also been unfortunate injury-wise. They lost Hayden Foxe before a ball had been kicked, David Tarka went down just 15 minutes into the season, and on top of that Stan Lazaridis has been missing ... that's three of the best players in the league."

In was in 2002 that Vrteski first made his mark as part of the Future Glory set-up. Spells with Sorrento, Stirling Lions and Wanneroo City as well as at the Australian Institute of Sport preceded his signing with Glory in early 2006. And although his focus in on forging a career in Europe, Vrteski would like to one day add to his eight appearances in Glory colours.

"Deep down, Perth's my home, I've grown up supporting Glory and I'd love to play for the club again one day."

- by Brett Klucznik

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