As a youngster Aaron Mooy used to pretend he was David Beckham in the backyard. Now the Caltex Socceroos star gets to strut his stuff - like Beckham did - on football's world stage.
“Players like Beckham and Zidane - I always tried to emulate what they did in the backyard,” Mooy told www.socceroos.com.au
“Those sorts of guys are very inspiring.
“The players I like watching at the moment are [Luka] Modric, [Toni] Kroos and [Andreas] Iniesta.
“You can pick up things, especially when you watch top, top players like that - how they get on the ball and into space, things like that.
“When we played Germany [in 2015] I came on and [Mesut] Ozil was very good and hard to get close to - he was a very smart player.
“We played against Liverpool pre-season and [Philippe] Coutinho and [Sadio] Mane were also very good,” he added.
As Mooy went from backyard to the playing fields of Sydney, he lived and breathed football.
So much so, that everything else in his life was a distant second.
“I never really had a plan B - I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing!” laughed Mooy.
“I just had it in my head that I wanted to be a footballer so badly.
“I gave everything to try and become a professional.
“Luckily it worked out alright and I'm still going.”
The last three years have seen a meteoric rise for the 26-year old as he left Melbourne City in the Hyundai A-League for parent club Manchester City.
After being loaned out to Huddersfield Town, Mooy help the Terriers win promotion to the Premier League, their first return to the top flight since 1971/72.
“I've loved playing for Huddersfield and under David [Wagner] - he's a really good coach,” Mooy said.
“He believed in me from the start and backed me and I'm very grateful for that.
“I was so glad to be part of something special for the club.
“He gave me the opportunity to play for his team and it worked out well for both of us.
And it's a mentally tougher Aaron Mooy who will attempt to navigate the Caltex Socceroos into the semi-finals at the Confederations Cup.
“My mentality has changed a bit since when I started at Melbourne City,” he said.
“I became more stubborn and stuck to what I believed.
“I set my goals for the season and if things weren't going well, I wouldn't change.”
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