James Meredith believes he is finally finding his feet in the rough and tumble world of professional football in England.
The 22-year old Albury-born defender made the plunge to move to the UK back in 2004 when he was just 16 and living in Melbourne after being awarded a youth contract by Derby County.
Six years later and Meredith is still in England playing with Conference National outfit York City where he has established himself in the first team in the past year or so.
tribalfootball.com caught up with Meredith to discuss his current playing situation, his plans for the future and everything in between.
“I feel good, I feel like I am finally finding my feet as a professional footballer,” Meredith said. “I now feel like I’m in a good position with York as a regular first team player to progress. The boy from Melbourne is still very much there and I am doing my best to keep my Australian accent as well.”
After racking up just over 50 appearances with the Minstermen since joining in May 2009, Meredith now knows that he has to become a key figure at the club and help them get back to the Conference play-offs after last season’s shattering loss to Oxford United.
“Yes I do feel it is time to step up, once you have a number of games under your belt there are no hiding places,” he added. “I had interest from a number of league clubs, but it was merely interest.
“I am in no rush to leave York, I like the club, the city. I have faith in the manager and players he has brought in, it will be a very interesting year. I still have a lot to learn, so progressing league by league will be gradual, hopefully it will be with York.
“Wembley (play-off final) was a good experience, we deserved to be in that final, all the hard work that year paid off. It was a fantastic atmosphere, the coverage was first class. Oxford took advantage of a poor opening 20 minutes, the rest is history.”
Meredith was asked to touch on some of the players who have influenced him during his career and it was no surprise to hear the names of the players he looked up to.
“Players that have faced what I’m facing and succeeded. They are not only doing their country proud, but themselves and their families proud.
“I’m also fond of Patrick Kisnorbo and Neil Kilkenny (both at Leeds United). Although they aren’t yet household names, I’m sure soon they will be.”
As stated previously, Meredith is keen to remain in York and develop his career with the club before potentially looking at where he is at further down the track.
“York is a beautiful place, it's not your typical English city,” he said of his temporary home town. “There is a lot of history and tradition left behind, the best example being the castle walls surrounding the city centre.
“My short-term goals are to play another 50 games with York and improve as a player. After that I’m not sure, if I perform I will play higher, if the team performs we will all play higher.”
And for the likelihood of one day returning to play in Australia, Meredith said he would definitely do that at some stage with Melbourne clubs the Victory and the Heart high on his agenda.
“I’m not tempted to come back right now, but I will definitely some point in the future,” he added. “I’ve still got a lot to give over here and still a lot I want to achieve.
“As a youngster though I was a big South Melbourne fan. My dream was simply to play for Hellas. I plan to do that before my limbs fold, but now I’m even more ambitious to one day play for either Heart or Victory.
“I love Melbourne and it would mean the world to perform in front of a home crowd. I haven’t played beside Leigh Broxham since we were youngsters so that could be fun.”