Fresh from his first training session with Melbourne City FC, Socceroo Michael Zullo declared he was ready to make an impact in Saturday’s glamour friendly against EPL powerhouse Manchester City.
Zullo was one of the new Melbourne City faces who trained at the Southport School on the Gold Coast on Thursday morning ahead of the clash at Cbus Stadium.
After a wretched final year of his contract with with Utrecht which saw the attack minded left-sided defender out for the year, he feels ready to re-ignite his career in Melbourne with City.
At 26, he senses it’s now or never.
And with the EPL big boys – who could feature new signing Raheem Sterling in Saturday’s game - it’s the perfect platform to announce he’s back, as Zullo explained to www.a-league.com.au after his first full session under John van 't Schip.
“I’m going to enjoy this week as we build up to Man City.
"If I’m lucky and the coaches think I’m ready I hope to get some minutes against Man City which will be my first in 12 months.”
And he could end up marking Sterling, City’s new blockbuster signing, captured for a staggering 49 million pounds.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play against some world class players in my time and obviously he’s just been bought for around 50 million pounds, or something outrageous like that.
“So it’s always interesting to test yourself against the best and a lot of people are watching this game.
“I’ve been keeping really fit since my rehab [from injury] and this club [Melbourne City] in terms of sports science and facilities is better than most clubs I’ve seen in Europe.
“And that was a big reason for me signing. [Melbourne] City have all the fundamentals to be a massive powerhouse in the A-League, with the facilities, the coaching, the backing.
“It's just a matter of time."
Zullo was joined at training by former Premier League player Aaron Hughes as well as triallist Jason Trifiro from Wanderers as City coach John van ‘t Schip fine-tuned preparations for the meeting with their ‘sister’ club in the City Football Group.
And for Zullo, who’s signed a one-year deal, he’s declared a new-attitude is vital if he’s to light up the A-League again.
The former Brisbane Roar and Adelaide player conceded his confidence had taken a battering after being out for a year.
But Zullo reflected on what he needs to do, and he’s convinced a more cavalier mentality is needed by him to stand out from the crowd.
“Anyone can play it safe and if you’re afraid to make a mistake that’s what happens.
“If feel it’s the players who back themselves, not necessarily the talented ones, who make it. They’re the ones who are prepared to go out there and take risks.
“It’s a high-risk, high reward kind of environment. Anyone can play the percentages, it’s about backing yourself to make a difference.
“It’s what I keep telling myself. Getting the hunger back and falling in love with the game again, backing myself to take on players.
“And I've always been about being fast down the line and taking risks."