Nabbout ready to shoulder responsibility at AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™
Socceroos forward Andrew Nabbout insists he has come back from his FIFA World Cup shoulder injury at “an even better level” as he sets his sights on helping fire Australia to success at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.
The Japan-based player was forced off the field in the second half of the 1-1 draw with Denmark at the FIFA World Cup in June 2018 after dislocating his right shoulder.
But an intensive rehab program has seen him bounce back in style for club side Urawa Red Diamonds this season, with his return to the national set-up capped by a goal in last weekend’s 5-0 friendly victory over Oman in Dubai.
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“I’ve progressed a lot as a player since coming back from my injury and I’m looking to take that into this tournament,” Nabbout said.
“Being on the biggest stage in the world gives any player a big confidence boost. My confidence took a bit of a hit with my shoulder injury, but you rise to another level as a player just being [at a World Cup], regardless of what happens.
“Since I’ve been back I’ve been working at getting match fit again and getting back to the level I was at the World Cup. I’m there, at an even better level. It was an amazing experience, even though I walked in with two shoulders and walked out with one.”
The 26-year-old front-man is looking forward to taking a second tilt at tournament football with the Socceroos.
“It’s exciting. To be back in this environment, to be back in the tournament set-up,” he said. “I’m just happy to be a part of it and I can’t wait to get started.
“If I get the honour to lead the line again, and regardless of where I play, I am going to go out there and put in a shift as I always do.
“It’s exciting, the brand of football that we’re playing, and I can’t wait to get started.”
The Socceroos commence their AFC Asian Cup title defence against Jordan on Sunday, 6 January at 10.00pm (AEDT).
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