The tough J-League decision that made Nabbout a better player

Andrew Nabbout had a difficult choice to make at Japanese heavyweights Urawa Red Diamonds: adapt his game or be left in the cold.

It is why after spending 16 months in one of Asia’s most unforgiving competitions, the 26-year-old believes he is returning to hometown club Melbourne Victory a more complete forward.

“I’d like to think I’m a little bit better technically,” Nabbout told reporters on Wednesday, his first press conference since being unveiled on a one-year contract last week.

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“It’s always tough going to a country like that where you know it’s a very technical league.

"And I’m a very physical player, I rely a lot on my power and my pressing and running in behind.

Nabbout
'I’d like to think I’m a little bit better technically', says Nabbout of how the J-League has changed him as a player
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“You had to rise to a level over there that was going to keep you in the squad and the Japanese are very technically gifted. It was my job to adapt and rise to that level and I’d like to think that I have and I’m going to try to bring that back here and do as well as I can."

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Nabbout earned a move to Urawa in March last year following two superb seasons with Newcastle Jets, form which also saw him picked by ex-coach Bert van Marwijk to lead the line for the Caltex Socceroos at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The Melbourne-born forward has been hampered by injuries after dislocating his shoulder against Denmark in the World Cup and found first-team opportunities scarce at the end of his tenure in Japan.

But Nabbout believes returning to the Hyundai A-League will further cement his standing as a key attacking weapon in the Australian national team.

"I chatted with [Caltex Socceroos coach Graham Arnold] him a couple of times over the past few weeks to explain why I wasn't playing [for Urawa]," he said.

"He wants us to play, he wants us to be getting game time no matter where it is.

Nabbout is expecting his first child with his partner in November and is set to face former employers Newcastle in next Wednesday’s FFA Cup clash, a match that doubles as new Victory boss Marco Kurz’s first match in charge of the four-time Hyundai A-League Champions.

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