EXCLUSIVE: Newcastle Jets recruit Brockie close to achieving World Cup dream

Newcastle Jets recruit Jeremy Brockie is close to achieving his childhood dream of playing in a World Cup.

Newcastle Jets recruit Jeremy Brockie is close to achieving his childhood dream of playing in a World Cup.

The 22-year old attacking midfielder is a huge chance to make the New Zealand squad to go to South Africa later this year but a matter of just a few months ago, his dreams faded when he went down with a broken leg.

At the time, Brockie was playing with first-year A-League club North Queensland Fury but since that, plenty has changed in the life of the Nelson-born footballer.

Brockie has signed with the Newcastle Jets and is on the mend following his injury and has hopes of getting back to full fitness and form prior to next month’s international friendly against Australia so he has every chance of being selected for Ricki Herbert’s All Whites squad that will face Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia in Group F of the sport’s biggest tournament.

tribalfootball.com caught up with Brockie to discuss among other things, his time at the Fury as well as the upcoming event that is sure to change his life if he is successful in achieving his goal of getting to South Africa.

“I really enjoyed my time with the Fury and even more so being back in pro football (after a few years in the NZ league),” Brockie said.

“Injuries happen in football unfortunately but personally before the injury happened I felt I was playing well, feeling fit and strong. I was disappointed not to score some more goals from some of the positions I got into but overall I felt pretty happy with my season at the Fury.”

In late March, Brockie signed a two-year deal with the Jets and said he was extremely excited about working with the Newcastle people at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

“It wasn’t that much of a hard decision. At the end of the day, there was a lot of confusion whether or not the Fury was going to be around for next season and then even if they were, there was no indication whether or not I was going to get an offer from them,” he added further. “Newcastle showed interest and I had a really good chat to (head coach) Branko (Culina) and he told me what his plans were for the Jets and what he wanted to do with me and it really excited me.

“Newcastle has been a pretty consistent team throughout the A-League and done very well last year. I'm really excited about moving down there and spending the next two years with the Jets.”

But for now, the former Sydney FC man is concentrating on one thing, and that is getting himself back into shape ahead of New Zealand’s training camp later this month.

“I'm making very good progress with my leg and I'm now back into full contact training and it's feeling very strong,” he continued. “The surgeon (Dr John Maguire) and physio (Paul Parker) have both done an excellent job with the operation and rehab to get me back on the field in a short time of just over 2 months. I've been working very hard with fitness trainer (Alan McCall) in the gym and on the field over the last week and will continue to do so for the next two weeks leading up to the two week New Zealand training camp beginning in Auckland on the 28th of April.”

In regards to his All Whites chances, Brockie feels he has almost done enough work to go to the training camp full of confidence that he can perform well and force the selectors to include him in their squad.

“I've talked to Ricki (Herbert) along with Assistant Brian Turner and Physio Roland Jeffery on a regular basis since breaking my leg, keeping them updated on the how the rehab is going,” Brockie said. “With the squad being named around the middle of May, I have about a month to prove I’m worthy of a spot in the 23-man squad. I'm happy to be able to attend the training camp at the end of the month and I’m looking forward to turning up with confidence in myself to perform and get to South Africa.”

And once he gets there with his New Zealand teammates, Brockie is confident that the team can shake up the tournament and take a few scalps along the way.

“It’s a very exciting group and a good draw when you look at some of the other groups but at the end of the day it’s a World Cup with the all the best teams in the world playing against each other and as previous tournaments have shown any team can beat anyone on game day,” he said defiantly. “Italy are obviously going to be tough as they will be looking to retain the World Cup, Paraguay being South American with have a fast flowing attacking game and I don’t know too much about Slovakia. I'm sure the squad of 23 that get picked and the starting 11 for each game will be up for every game and looking forward to them!”

As for qualifying for the World Cup in the first place, it was a tremendous achievement by New Zealand, especially as it was just the second time in the football team’s history that they had made the finals but Brockie is not surprised they were able to do so well in the qualifying stages as it had been a lot of hard work in the making.

“It was a great day in New Zealand for football when the All Whites beat Bahrain on the 15th of November. It had been a long time since the All Whites had been to the World Cup (1982). Ricki and his management team along with the players set a long term goal of making the 2010 World cup and all the hard work that was put in for 5/6 years has been a well deserve reward.

“For the past year football in NZ has really burst onto the scene. Extra seating had to be put in for the return leg against Bahrain and obviously with the (Wellington) Phoenix doing so well in the A-League this year with fantastic crowds (especially in the finals). There is a lot of interest now in the sport and I don’t think we will ever have to look back. I'm sure most of the country will be tuned in to their TV's on June 15th when the All Whites step out onto the field.”

And finally, Brockie admitted, as most professional footballers do, that being selected to represent his country at the World Cup would be fulfilling a childhood dream.

“Ever since I was a young boy I dreamed of representing my country at a World Cup,” he said. “It is very close to becoming a reality and from the moment I heard from the surgeon that there is a chance my leg will be right in time for it, I focused and have worked very hard on my rehab program. Every exercise I do, every run I do, I kept telling myself WORLD CUP!

“I want to give myself every opportunity of being named in the squad of 23 for South Africa and I will continue to train hard up until the day the team gets announced...hopefully my name being on that list!”

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