James Troisi has taken the lesser worn path on the road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The main goal was to play regular first team football after just six Serie A appearances for Atalanta in the 2012/13 season but there was also a pot of gold waiting at the end.
That pot of gold, of course, was making Australia’s squad for the 20th edition of world football’s most prestigious tournament.
Troisi’s move to the A-League was questioned by some but it proved to be a stroke of genius as his form in Australia’s top flight for the Victory during the 2013/14 campaign was sublime and ultimately led to him being selected by Ange Postecoglou.
The former Newcastle United, Kayserispor and Genclerbirligi man, whose registration rights are shared between Juventus and Atalanta, netted 12 goals to finish second on the A-League’s scoring charts behind fellow Socceroo Adam Taggart.
Ahead of Brazil 2014, Troisi spoke to tribalfootball.com about his career and how his brave decision to take a step down in standard has seen him make Australia’s final 23 for Brazil 2014.
Regarding his call-up, Troisi indicated that it was not so much a surprise after former Victory boss Postecoglou lured him to Melbourne in order to get some much-needed game time.
“Well (it was) not necessarily (a surprise),” he added.
“Ange gave me a call when I was in Italy and told me to come back to the Victory (Melbourne) and I knew that was a good sign already, and then when he got the Socceroos job he liked me and brought me back for a reason.
“The idea was to come back to play regular football and in the back of my mind one day I could go to the World Cup. Obviously in the previous years, I had been really disappointed as I had done well in Turkey.
“(But) I’ve done what I needed to do and very much looking forward to being involved again.”
When discussing his future at club level, Troisi was keeping his cards close to his chest as he placed all of his energies into preparing for Brazil.
“Yeah well I’ve still got a contract with Atalanta for two years, but at this point my main focus is on the World Cup and then when that’s finished, I’ll sit down with my agent and Atalanta and see what they are thinking,” he said.
A potential return to the English Premier League, where he spent time with the Magpies between 2005 and 2008, is also on the agenda.
“Yeah of course. To be honest I’m open to almost anything. The most important thing is to play and keep playing at a high level and the Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world,” Troisi offered.
His time at St James’ Park saw him work under some of English football’s biggest names and he was quick to recall his experiences with the ‘Toon’.
“I got along with Kevin Keegan very well. He was very good to me and he’s a coach that likes my style of playing,” said the former Magpies youth academy ace.
“Unfortunately things didn’t go too well for him and he wasn’t there for very long but that’s just how football goes I guess.”
Troisi also worked with Newcastle legend Peter Beardsley: “Yeah amazing, I remember he used to join in on our games and he still had an unbelievable ability and unbelievable touch.
“You learn from players like that and as I said previously, I’d like to think that I’m the type of player that played similarly to him. He took me under his wing a little bit and I did learn a lot from him.”
Troisi also recounted his days in Turkey which he describes as being extremely different from what he has encountered elsewhere.
“It is very different as it’s very full on,” he added further.
“Some of the big games means they have massive crowds. I think the league is progressing and getting better year by year with some big-name players there now and I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
“The physical side of the game especially – as soon as you turn there are 2-3 defenders on you. I really enjoyed my time there!”
As for his earliest World Cup memories, Troisi recollected some thoughts he had when growing up watching the world game as an avid supporter.
“As a little kid I used to get up with my father and friends of ours and watch Australia, Italy and Greece - all obviously my background,” he remembered.
“I also really enjoyed watching some of the great teams like Brazil and Argentina.
“Looking back every young player wants to play at the highest level and I have the opportunity to do that at the World Cup.”
James Troisi spoke with tribalfootball.com courtesy of adidas and Elite Sports Properties.
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