Mile Jedinak says he hopes the Socceroos Asian Cup success will help take football to the “next level” in Australia and the Australian national team skipper rates the achievement the highlight of his career.
Jedinak used his “Captain’s Column” in Crystal Palace’s match-day program ahead of Thursday morning’s (AEDT) clash with Newcastle United to tell the EPL club’s fans just what the triumph meant to him.
“Just participating in the Asian Cup in my home country was a brilliant experience, but to win it makes it even more special,” Jedinak wrote.
“Being at home and seeing how much everyone got behind not only us, but the whole tournament in itself, was really something special.
“When the final whistle blew after 120 exhausting minutes in the final against South Korea I was overwhelmed about what we had achieved.
“I’m trying to compare it to the play-off final and finding a lot of similarities in how I felt - it was something really special. It’s got to be right up there in all the things I’ve achieved in my career and to be a part of history achieving something for our country is really amazing.
“With it being on home soil, in Sydney, in front of a lot of our family and friends, it goes right to the top of that list.
“Hopefully we can use this success to take interest in football up to the next level in Australia where it needs to be and where it deserves to go.
"Hopefully we can use it as a springboard to help us grow the game over there.”
Jedinak played a key role in the Socceroos historic win, despite battling an ankle injury suffered in the opening game of the tournament against Kuwait.
The inspirational skipper returned for the three knockout stage wins of China, UAE and South Korea in the final but hasn’t featured for Palace since due to the problem.
“After playing so many games in a short space of time I feel OK, there’s a slight bit of fatigue so I’m just managing that and seeing when I’ll be re-introduced to the squad,” he said.
“I picked up an ankle injury in the opening game of the tournament and it’s a little bit of a slight issue but we’ll try and work through that.”
Much changed at Palace while Jedinak was in Australia, with new manager Alan Pardew coming in to try and help the club move out of the relegation zone.
And the ex-Central Coast midfielder said seeing the side’s results improve while in Socceroos camp gave him a massive boost.
“I managed to keep track of how Palace were getting on fairly easily over in Australia. They show all the games and even though I didn’t get up in all hours in the morning to watch them live, I was quick to check my phone when I woke up in the morning,” Jedinak said.
“I was pleased to see that everyone here has been doing their job and doing really well which is encouraging.
“When I found out each good result that helped me start the day in one of my better moods!”