True Ambition

Wednesday 12 December 2007

Following his summer move from Melbourne Victory, Adrian Leijer has made a fine start to his Fulham career. Signed on a three-year contract, the defender has been putting in some impressive displays for Billy McKinlay’s Development Squad, and the youngster is clearly focused on achieving his long term goal.

“It’s a great Club and it’s always been a dream of mine to come over and play in England and I’m determined to make it work. I’m young and I’ve got a lot to learn in the game. Adapting from Australia to England is obviously going to take time but I’m prepared to do the hard work so hopefully in the future I can get my First Team debut.

“It’s been good for me getting used to the English style, how everything operates - working under Billy McKinlay has been very enjoyable. He’s been good to me, helping me and pointing out things that I need to work on and parts of the game I need to learn – in four months here I’ve already learnt a lot and hopefully I’ll continue to do so.”

Leijer has adapted, both on and off the pitch, with impressive ease and clearly sees the bigger picture in terms of his long term development. After winning Australia’s Grand Final in front of 60,000 fans and being named the A League’s Young Player of the Year, Leijer has stepped up and taken on the challenge.

“The training is pretty similar but the intensity is higher. I’m enjoying that aspect of it and the step up. It’s basically going to a higher standard and in a profession like this once you step up to the next level everything steps up. You have to be on your game in every session.

“Back home I was playing in front of 35,000 every week. At the Grand Final we had 60,000, so playing in the Reserves is a bit different but it's all part of it. I’ve spoken to a few Australian players and they’ve said that’s how it is in the beginning – you only get the rewards of playing in front of crowds if you keep working hard and doing well and that’s where I want to be.”

Leijer’s form for the Development Squad has already earned him a place on Sanchez’ bench this season and the defender clearly enjoyed the match day buzz, fuelling his hunger to achieve his ambition of actual game time for the Whites at Craven Cottage.

“The Premier League for me, it’s something which is watched throughout the world, and in a lot of people’s eyes it’s the best league in the world. To be involved is good for me, I look forward to match day. To be involved with the First Team you get a bit of a buzz and get a feel for the pressure and atmosphere.

“Unfortunately I haven’t got on the pitch yet and that’s something I’m working towards and hopefully my chance will come. As I said before, I’m young and I’ve got a lot to learn. If I keep working at my game it will come.”