Europe has been a tough transition, Vukovic admits

Playing in Europe has long been Danny Vukovic's dream but the Socceroos goalkeeper admits it has been a difficult switch from the A-League to his Belgian club Genk.

In June Vukovic swapped Sydney FC for the Blauw-Wit for a club-record transfer fee.

The 32-year-old gloveman moved his wife and baby son Harley, who earlier this year had a life-saving liver transplant, away from their family and friends to the other side of the world.

He had an injury-interrupted pre-season in Belgium, missing all of the club’s trial games, before tasting first-team action.


"It's been a tough transition I would say,” he told The World Game.

“It's completely different to playing in Australia, from playing in a different continent on the other side of the world, that brings its own challenges. But the other side I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far.

“I find the standard here very good. Individually the players here are very good and the league itself is one of the better ones in Europe. This league just sits under the top leagues in England, Italy, Spain and Germany.

“I’ve been very surprised at the quality in the league and every team has been strong that we’ve been come up against.

“I’m loving the fact I’ve finally fulfilled my dream of playing in Europe. All in all, it’s been good.”

Vukovic made his debut for Genk in round two of the Belgian First Division A and has kept the number one shirt from fellow keeper Nordin Jackers, starting in every game since then.

The ex-Sky Blues and Mariners shot-stopper believes his form can only get better.

“I’ve played since round two and I think my form isn’t where I want it to be at this point in time, but still working hard and trying to be the best I can be for the club," he said.

Vukovic who was crowned the A-League goalkeeper of the year after Sydmey's championship-winning season, earned a first call-up to the Socceroos squad on the back of his form with the Sky Blues and has retained his spot in Ange Postecoglou's squads since. 

Vukovic was named in the Socceroos final 23-man squad for Australia’s two-legged play-off against Honduras next month.

Much of the discourse surrounding those games has been focused on Postecoglou amid reports he intends to leave quit after the Honduras playoffs whether Australia qualify for the World Cup or not. 

The coach again refused to answer questions about his future when announcing his final squad on Tuesday, but Vukovic said he would be sad if Postecoglou departed.

“Of course I would be sad to see Ange go,” he said.

“I owe a lot to Ange for bringing me back into the squad after seven years,” he said.

“He's our most successful coach so I certainly don't want to see him go. I hope he does stay on.

"But whatever his decision, it needs to be respected. He's done so much for the game in Australia and it's sad to see a lot of people forget that in recent weeks."

Australia head to San Pedro Sula on November 10 for the first leg, before hosting Honduras in Sydney on November 15 in the second leg.

Vukovic said the belief is there in the Socceroos squad to get the job done and qualify for Russia.

“Destiny’s still in our hands,” he said.

“We're confident we can get the job done against Honduras. It's going to be an interesting trip, going to Honduras by all reports.

"We're going to have really together as a unit, galvanised to try and get a good result to come back to Sydney with.

"It’s plain to see the belief is there in the squad. The squad we believe in what we’re doing and the coaching staff do too.

"We're out to prove that we're on the right path and we certainly think we are.”

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4 min read
Published 3 November 2017 at 1:00pm
By John Davidson