Revitalised Babalj relishing loan spell at PEC Zwolle

Eli Babalj remains confident of earning regular football at PEC Zwolle despite Thomas Necid's proposed move to Italy falling through.

PEC brought in Babalj on loan from AZ Alkmaar in February to replace Necid. The Czech Republic international, also on loan from CSKA Moscow, was reportedly the subject of joint interest from Juventus and Chievo.

That transfer never transpired, leaving PEC coach Ron Jans with a surplus of attacking talent.

Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Babalj hopes to finally start making an impression on the Eredivisie following his switch from Melbourne Heart in 2013.

"I came to PEC to replace Thomas Necid, who was meant to be going to Juventus but that deal fell through and he's still here," he told SBS's The World Game.

"But the coach has said his (Necid's) being here doesn't change anything and they still want me. Even if I get five minutes, that's something to build on.

"This is a fresh start for me at a club doing well. After not playing for so long it's about getting as many minutes as I can and getting that sharpness and momentum back."

Babalj, who has suffered a ruptured adducter tendon and undergone two hernia operations since moving to the Netherlands, made his PEC debut off the bench against Go Ahead Eagles last week, before starting their most recent match away to ADO Den Haag.

"I thought I had become the forgotten man," he said.

"Football is weird, it can turn around in one day – at the moment (I'm) just thinking about next week’s game against Vitesse. You miss playing in big games like this. I feel like a kid again.

"It's good to show people I am still alive. I felt good in playing 85 minutes against Den Haag. I felt comfortable and didn't feel I was lagging. It showed me I can play at this level.

"The more time I get, the quicker I will run into form and be able to offer more. It's not easy being out for so long."

It remains to be seen if a loan spell at the IJsseldelta Stadion outfit can help to relaunch Babalj's career at AZ.

"I am here till the end of the season and I will do everything to help the team and just enjoy football again, which hasn't been the case for the last two years," he said.

"It's been frustrating but right now physically, I have never felt better.

"I was on the bench a few times at AZ but never got any minutes, which was just the way it worked out."