Fresh from his Süper Lig debut with Turkish club Kasımpaşa, Socceroos winger Awer Mabil sat down to chat on the Socceroos Podcast.
In the frank conversation, the 26-year-old revealed exactly why this transfer is the spark he needs to start performing at club level again, and how that could potentially benefit the national team.
Mabil’s move was sealed on the final day of the transfer window and he made his debut in last week’s 2-2 draw with the fifth-place Alanyaspor. The debut ends a drought of almost four months since he last took the field following a disagreement with his parent club, FC Midtjylland.
“I went through a period in Denmark that was a little bit difficult for many reasons but now that I am in Turkey I’m ready to enjoy my football again and continue my career,” said Mabil.
While enjoying a seemingly harmonious relationship with Midtjylland, with both the club and the player achieving success, Mabil looked to seek a new challenge but his club was not abiding – instead sidelining him to token bench appearances and often leaving him out of the squad altogether.
“I’d been in Denmark for a long time, I’d helped the club a lot, we'd achieved a lot and I’m very grateful for the club. I made it quite clear that I wanted to move on but that backfired on the political side of things in the last year.”
Thankfully for all parties involved, a positive resolution has been made with the loan move to Turkey not only providing game time but also complementing Mabil’s specific skill set.
Mabil’s talents are built on speed, explosivity, skills, and creating scoring opportunities in open play: the exact attributes that suit the Turkish league which encourages individual brilliance and creativity over Denmark’s heavy emphasis on set pieces and tactical breakdowns.
“I really enjoyed making my debut and I felt really good because I can express myself here,” explained Mabil.
“I faced 10 one-on-one situations in the space of 30 minutes. That gave me a buzz because that's what I live for: to dribble, to make assists, and to make goals. That's my job as a winger.
“With hard work I can really make a lot of assists and a lot of goals here. This league is suitable for me.”
It’s no surprise that Mabil has ended up in a league that suits his skills perfectly. There were a lot of conversations and research put into place before the loan was approved, with one person in particular heavily influencing the winger’s decision: Socceroos teammate Aziz Behich.
“The club contacted Aziz, he contacted me and we talked. He had some great things to say about Turkey so that made it easier.”
Mabil predicts the link will also benefit the national team. While not on the same team, being there for each other and spending more time together will create further chemistry for Australia’s lethal left-sided attack.
“It makes it easier that we play in the national team together: Aziz is normally behind me when we play for the Socceroos. We look after each other and he’s always looking after me. I’m grateful for him and hoping to leave a mark in Turkey.”
It is still early days but it does seem that Turkey and Mabil will suit each other. And despite all of the positives in terms of football style and Socceroos teammates, Mabil is simple grateful to be somewhere where he is happy and is believed in.
“It's nice to be happy again. To just focus on football and bringing joy to the field, really,” he said.
“My coach believes in me a lot, the club believes in me a lot, and that's why they brought me here to add something to the team. My job is to create chances and score goals and bring flair to the fans.
“I’ve made my debut, now I just have to get myself fit because I haven't played properly for five months, so it's step-by-step."