It's been a year to remember for Garcia
It’s been a year to remember for Hull City attacking midfielder Richard Garcia and to play a part in next Wednesday’s night World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan would top it off.
It-s been a year to remember for Hull City attacking midfielder Richard Garcia and to play a part in next Wednesday-s night World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan would top it off.
First it was winning the play-off game against Crystal Palace to win promotion to the Premier League; second was playing in the Premier League and third was making his debut for the Socceroos.
But if the West Australian can get time on the park, not only will he play a game on Australian soil for the first time in a long time, but he will also get to play in front of family for the first time since he was 15.
“I went to England when I was 15 and I have never had a chance to play in front of the family (as a professional) and its something I-ve always dreamed of doing,” he said from a Sydney school, where he was helping to promote an anti-bullying campaign in schools.
Garcia has done it the hard way after promising so much as a youngster with West Ham, where he was part of the Hammers team winning the FA Youth Cup in 1999, alongside Michael Carrick and Joe Cole.
A move away to Leyton Orient in the lower divisions to get first team football resulted in as serious knee injury and since then he has made his way up the chain after helping Colchester United and Hull City win promotion.
Now he is in the big leagues and loving every minute of it.
“From a personal point of view, it-s been really good and getting a call up to the Socceroos is something that everyone dreams of, so this season has been fantastic for me.
As for playing in the EPL - “Fantastic, I had a bit of taste of it when I was younger at West Ham but not as much as I would have liked and now its come full circle. It-s been really good and I am just happy to get to that level and know that I can play at that level and be comfortable at that level.”
After a scintillating start to the season, which included Garcia scoring his first EPL goal, Hull-s season has gone into free fall and it stands they sit just above the relegation zone.
“We had that belief and we still have that belief, but things just are not going our way at the minute. We-re looking to get a few more wins and get the points on the board that we need.”
There were moments when the 27-year-old thought his chances of playing for Australia might have slipped him by, but he now stands a good chance of playing in a World Cup next year, if he can maintain his form.
“There have been stints of my career when I thought it was never going to happen,'' Garcia said of playing for the Socceroos.
“I've worked really hard to get back to where I want to be.
“It was always my aim to play for Australia and to play in the Premier League and I am happy to have achieved it.''
“I think it-s a big achievement to make it and play in a World Cup, so I think that would be any young guys dream and certainly an aim of mine.”
He also knows he has the full support of his manager Phil Brown, who has been pushing Garcia-s international credentials for some time and was happy for him to travel and play in this game, despite being at a crucial time of the season.
“He (Brown) is always happy for the guys to go away on international duty. It's another experience for players.
“It's something different and I think it enhances everyone's game. You are playing against different players from around the world and he-s more than happy for us to go away.''
Tickets are still available for the match. To purchase your tickets, go to www.ticketek.com.au or phone on 132 849 or they can be purchased from all Ticketek outlets.
*ANZ Stadium referred to original name of Stadium Australia, due to rules of Asian Football Confederation.