The key to staying fresh

After their overload of games and countless hours of travel, one could forgive Adelaide United players for feeling stale about football and their team-mates.

After their overload of games and countless hours of travel, one could forgive Adelaide United players for feeling stale about football and their team-mates.

But that's not the case at Hindmarsh Stadium with the Reds more enthusiastic than ever about making an impact in the Hyundai A-League and in Asia.

A change in personnel following the team's disappointing 2007/08 season has seen the United squad evolve into a tight knit unit that gels both and off the field.

Robbie Cornthwaite and Scott Jamieson are a perfect example of this.

Strangers before Jamieson arrived at the club in June, the duo are now living in an apartment together and are the best of mates.

Both players come from British families, spent their birthdays on the road during the club's busy October and were chosen in the Socceroos' training squad ahead of the national side's home clash against Qatar.

They even room together when United travels overseas or interstate for games.

Cornthwaite said he and Jamieson have a shared passion for the popular football game Pro Evolution Soccer and sometimes use it to resolve domestic issues.

"We play Playstation against each other and whoever loses has to wash the dishes so the games can get quite heated and quite fiery and that's the way we like our football which is good," Cornthwaite said.

"Luckily it's been shared out a bit otherwise one person might be getting pretty frustrated I reckon."

The duo even joke they should be sought out for Pro Evolution sponsorship given their dedication to it away from the real sport.

Jamieson, a former Bolton Wanderers player, said Robbie's link with the UK is also a talking point at home.

"Obviously with him being from Blackburn, near Bolton, we do have a chat about the north of England and where we've come from," he said.

The defenders are also feeling full of confidence and are optimistic about the future after their brief stint with the Socceroos earlier this month.

Jamieson said he 'soaked up everything' during his time with the squad.

"There was a lot of good players there with a lot of experience. Obviously we tried to impress Pim (Verbeek) and wanted to get into the match-day squad but unfortunately that wasn't to be," he said.

"But just being there learning and seeing the standard you need to reach to be in the Socceroos was very good for us," he said.

Cornthwaite, who's been involved in national Under 23 squads in the past, enjoyed taking the next step up.

"It was a fantastic opportunity for me to train with the best players this country has produced and to work under Pim. I tried to ask as many questions as possible and I learnt a lot off the experienced players especially Craig Moore and Lucas (Neill)," he said.

Cornthwaite and Jamieson have a great friendship but it doesn't stand out too much in a team that bubbles with energy, aggression and excitement every time it takes to the training pitch.

Jamieson said his involvement and success with the Reds had already exceeded expectations and he puts that down to the positive vibe at Hindmarsh.

"I think if someone was asking what the big thing about Adelaide is I'd think it was the togetherness. As a new player it was the most appealing thing, finding a club with such nice people and friendly people," he said.

"That's been transformed onto the pitch with our performances and I think that is going to help us the future."

Cornthwaite said 12 months ago he would not have believed the Reds would progress so far in the ACL. But he said the team's focus on improving its defensive game and the influx of recruits had generated a new self belief among the players.

"All the boys are pretty tight; off the field we are all great mates," he said.

"It makes it easier that way as well. We enjoy playing football together and the way we are going at the moment it's just an amazing feeling around the club."

"At the moment we believe we can do anything."