It was less than three months ago that 19-year-old midfielder Riley McGree took the field for Newcastle Jets against Melbourne City in the semi-final round of A-League. With the game in favour of the City group-owned club, the youngster, on loan from Club Brugge, scored an outrageous scorpion-kick to bring his team level.
Melbourne City ended up losing the semi-final but they had spotted the talent in McGree. And now, the midfielder is polishing his boots to take the field for the City Blues in the upcoming La Liga world pre-season tournament in Kochi. Will Kerala get to see such moments of brilliance from Riley?
“I hope I can score a similar goal! I have had a bit of a chat with my teammates about the goal but I think our main goal is to win games and win trophies,” McGree told Goal.
“The feeling (after joining Melbourne) is the same. The team is hungry and they have high expectations for the tournament coming up in Kerala. (We want to) win games, play attractive football and put Melbourne City on the map.”
At 25 years of age, Anthony Caceres is looking to establish his role as a central midfielder at Melbourne City. The upcoming La Liga World tournament gives him a golden chance to prove his worth to coach Warren Joyce. The former Al Wasl player’s second stint at Melbourne City will start with a journey to the ‘God’s Own Country’.
“I have heard that Kochi is a coastal city in a very beautiful part of India. I am looking forward to embracing the culture and experiencing what the city has to offer. I want to try new foods and explore new surroundings,” Caceres said.
“I was playing in the UAE recently and made a lot of Indian friends over there so I have got nothing but respect for the people.”
Left-back Scott Jamieson’s source of information about Kerala is his friend and former Western Sydney Wanderers teammate Dimas Delgado who now plays for Bengaluru FC. Although both clubs are rivals, the Spanish midfielder seems to have given the 29-year-old defender an outstanding impression about the Yellow Army.
“I spoke to my friend Dimas Delgado who plays for Bengaluru FC. He told me that when you play the Yellow Army, they (the supporters) are very crazy. As a football player, you want to play at stadiums that have a great atmosphere. And he says that they have a massive impact on the game. That is exciting,” said Jamieson.
Further, he added, “I think Kerala Blasters are one of the most well-supported teams in India and for us to go over there and play in their stadium will be a good experience. The Indian league is getting bigger. With names like David James and Dimitar Berbatov going there, it can only help.”
The JLN Stadium is known for the atmosphere it generates and despite a low turnout for Blasters’ home games last season in the Indian Super League (ISL), Jamieson is hoping for a full-house for the La Liga World tournament.
“I hope (there is a full-house crowd in Kochi). I think in terms of what the fans will be able to see there, it will be great. You are getting (to watch) a La Liga team, any team in LaLiga is a very good team. You are also getting an Australian team.
“The Indian fans might not know much about us but for us, we would like to think we are very strong in our own right. We are involved with Manchester City and we are a City group (-owned) team, we are very strong here in Australia. We compete to win at the end of the season and pre-season is no different.”