Five minutes with: Adelaide United midfielder James Holland

As a 19-year-old he left the Newcastle Jets to fulfill his dream of playing in Europe, spending time at Dutch, Austrian and German clubs, picking up 15 Socceroo caps on the way - now he's back home in the A-League for the title-defending Reds.

A-League Rd 3 - Adelaide v Melbourne

Holland in action against Victory Source: Getty Images AsiaPac

What was the European experience like for you as a person?

JH: It was fantastic. I went over there as a 19 year-old and you don't blink. You have that naivety, you're always chasing that opportunity and it happened quickly for me, so I went over there and jumped in with that no fear kind of thing. After a couple of months it kind of hit me, the whole move and going to a country where you're a nobody and you've got to work your way up again and I think that whole experience and delving into the different cultures, the different languages and the different countries all helped me develop as a person.

Do you have a desire to return to Europe or are you planning to stay in Australia from now on?

JH: I'm an ambitious person, so I'd love to return there as a footballer. In regards to living, to be honest I couldn't answer that for you, because I've been lucky enough to live in some amazing countries and cities and that very much includes Australia. I couldn't tell you where my future is going to lie, because I love that European lifestyle and I also love the Australian lifestyle.

So you're going to play it by ear?

JH: Exactly, and while I'm unattached at the moment you never know what is going to happen with partners and possibly getting married and that's likely to be a factor in the future as well. I'll see what life brings me. I'm able to lead a selfish lifestyle at the moment, because I'm on my own.

Did you come back to Australia during off-seasons?

JH: I wanted to make the most of the opportunity I had by being over there, so I came back home every second year maybe and when I had the opportunity to travel I tried to see the world and experience as much as I could and delve into different cultures. So I was doing a lot of travelling while I was over there.

What is your greatest non-football memory during that time?

JH: That's a very good question. In 2013 the Socceroos had just qualified for the World Cup and I went straight back to Europe and me and a mate went to my club at the time, Austria Vienna, and I threw them the keys to my car and I borrowed one of their vans and we threw our bags and a couple of bicycles in the back and went on a road trip through Italy. We did cooking classes in Florence, went through the mountains. We didn't book anything, we just picked our destinations along the way and explored Italy for a couple of weeks, which was fantastic.

What's your best dish?

In the cooking class my mate and I did in Florence we went to the local markets and bought all of the fresh produce and they taught us how to make the traditional bolognese sauce, so I can make a killer bolognese mate.

"Santa" (Brendon Santalab) got you with that heavy tackle in round two of the A-League. It wouldn't have been the early Christmas present you were looking for.

JH: No, I wouldn't call him Santa Claus, that's for sure. Obviously in the heat of the moment I probably wasn't very willing to accept his apology. He made some comments afterwards about the tackle that I didn't 100 per cent agree with, but at the same time I understand he's a footballer, he's a winner and things like this happen in football. It's part and parcel of the game and you've got to accept it.

Finally, do you only like the new stuff when it comes to music, or are you a bit old school?

JH: I like a bit of everything, to be honest. I appreciate a lot of the old stuff because it probably has a bit more soul to it. I like a bit of Bryan Adams, that sort of era, but I'll also listen to a lot of the new stuff.

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
4 min read
Published 22 November 2016 at 9:26am
By Greg Prichard