Robbie Kruse has issued a warning to opposition defences ahead of the Asian Cup, announcing that he's determined to relaunch his career after recovering from a serious knee injury.
Kruse missed out on Australia's FIFA World Cup campaign after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in January.
The 26-year-old has been eased back into action at Bayer Leverkusen and with the Socceroos during the first half of the 2014-15 campaign.
Now he intends to make up for the disappointment of missing out on Brazil 2014 by proving, on home soil and with expectations sky high, that he's back to his best.
"Hopefully this Asian Cup I can really stamp my authority on the competition," he said.
"I'm very confident in myself to put on some good performances.
"My rehab went for about seven or eight months, I felt I was working towards this tournament the whole time. I can kind of right the wrong of not going to the World Cup.
"This is going to be a big tournament for me to get back to where I was. I've been looking forward to this for a year now. You go through so many emotions when you miss out on a ... World Cup. I'm thankful this has come around six months later.
"Hopefully I can do my part for the team, we can put on a good performance and win the tournament."
According to Kruse, the long, lonely road back to full fitness has afforded him a new perspective on his privileged career.
"You miss out on so many things and you start to appreciate how good of a life you have as a footballer," he said.
"I was at rehab for seven, eight hours a day. You definitely appreciate how lucky we are to get paid to do what we love. I don't take it for granted as much as I used to."
With Australia set to play the tournament opener against Kuwait at AAMI Park on January 9, Kruse is looking forward to gracing a stadium and a city which holds a special place in his heart.
"Melbourne's my favourite place here in Australia, I definitely call it home now," he said.
"I want to live here when I finish my career. I'd love to end it here with Melbourne Victory. I have fond memories of AAMI Park and playing in front of the Victory fans, they're one of the best in the league."
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