Joel King has capped off a whirlwind week with an exciting transfer to Odense BK in the Danish Superliga.
King, who is just 21 years of age, played his first minutes for the Socceroos right from the off as they triumphed against Vietnam in Melbourne.
“It’s a life-changing opportunity for me and I am extremely excited by the challenge,” King told Sydney FC.
“I have loved every minute of my time at Sydney FC playing through the Academy and for the A-League Men team.
“I’ve learned an incredible amount and without that help from my coaches and team-mates I wouldn’t have this opportunity.
“I will be forever grateful to Sydney FC, my club who I have supported since I was five years old, and I wish everyone continued success.”
The left-back started every game for his club Sydney FC this season up until their clash last Tuesday against Melbourne Victory, due to being selected for the Australian national team.
King has established himself as Sydney’s number one left-back over the past few seasons, and was chosen alongside fellow A-League Men youngsters Marco Tilio and Kye Rowles for the squad.
However, unlike the other two newbies, King made his starting debut in his first ever appearance in the team, after veteran left-back Aziz Behich got caught in a major snowstorm in Istanbul - Behich will meet the Socceroos in Muscat, Oman.
“On Wednesday morning I found about the news that Aziz (Behich) couldn’t make the flight over and straight away I thought that it was a chance for me,” said King.
“Arnie had enough faith in me and I can’t thank him enough for entrusting me to play tonight. I really enjoyed it.”
Following the Behich news, the coaching staff alerted King that it was likely his chance to start, and vetran players were quick to rally around the yonugster, giving him plenty of advice for gameday.
“As soon as I found out the news that Aziz wasn’t going to make it they told me that this would be a chance of playing and that they had full faith in me”, said King.
“After training (on Wednesday) a few of the boys like Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury and Matt Leckie gave me some advice so I can’t thank them enough for all their support.”
Making his debut, King was his usual solid, composed self.
He kept passes simple to help move the ball around, and was exceptional in the few defensive duels he competed in, despite the nerves he experienced before the match.
“Walking out in front of this massive crowd and playing for Australia, it’s a dream come true”, he said.
I remember I thought that half an hour had gone and I looked a the clock and it had been eight minutes!”
“I was very nervous but after the first 10-15 minutes the nerves went away and I started to get into my groove and play my normal game.”
King could win his second cap on Wednesday morning (AEDT), with the Socceroos facing Oman at 3:00am AEDT.