NEWCASTLE Jets recruit Olivier Boumal says the intense nature of pre-season training under head coach Arthur Papas has the club's Isuzu UTE A-League Men squad primed for the 2021/22 campaign.
An F3 Derby with Central Coast Mariners looms as the first fixture on the Isuzu UTE A-League Men calendar for Boumal and the Jets, a side eager to impress with a new boss at the helm and a raft of recruits instilling an air of confidence around the team going into the new season.
Cameroonian forward Boumal signed for the Jets in August, and emerged from quarantine two weeks ago to join his new side in a rigorous pre-season regime under Papas. The left-footed attacker was familiar with Papas' playing style and coaching ethos having joined Yokohama F.Marinos shortly after Papas' departure from an assistant coaching role at the club.
Although their respective stints at the club did not overlap, Boumal says his familiarity with the work of the Australian manager excited him about the prospect of working together in Newcastle - and he's become completely aware of the team's ambitions under Papas as a rigorous pre-season has progressed.
“I was excited,” Boumal said. “I knew Arthur a long time ago…I know the way he wants to play football.
“For me, the style [of play] is not something new. I know it very well.
“Honestly, I didn’t know much about the A-League. I knew some players like Del Piero who played here before.
“I wanted to discover the country and everything about Australia. It’s a good opportunity…[but] I’m here to play football first, then we’ll see things like the beach.”
“I know that in football, everything depends on the way that we approach each game,” he added.
“There are no small or big teams. It all depends on our motivation and our approach every week.
It’s very intense at training. We’re working really, really hard. We’re trying to be ready for the first game and everyone is giving their best.”
Joining Boumal in Jets pre-season is goalkeeper Noah James, who is eager to contest for the starting role in between the sticks for Papas' side in 2021/22 after a learning experience on loan at Western Sydney Wanderers last season.
James served as understudy to Wanderers 'keeper Daniel Margush through 2020/21, where the 20-year-old accrued valuable experience he brings back to a Jets goalkeeping unit led by coach Chris Bowling and complimented by fellow shot-stoppers Jack Duncan and Michael Weier.
James says after his experience in Wanderland, he's ready to take any opportunities that come his way in the upcoming Isuzu UTE A-League Men season.
“It’s good to have competition,” James said.
“We all get the best out of each other, but only one of us can play, and the other two just have to be ready to take their opportunity if and when it comes.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to the boss. I can only put my best foot forward in training and the practice matches we’re playing. I’m just focused on what I can do and train and play the best that I can and hopefully I can take my opportunity when it comes.”
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