Juric looks back on a year of living famously

Australia striker Tomi Juric said he was proud to be able to meet his new club Roda JC's expectations after making a move to the Netherlands.

Australia Tomi Juric Roda JC

Tomi Juric has had an extraordinary year Source: AAP

Juric, 24, signed a one-year contract with the Eredivisie club from Western Sydney Wanderers in August and he did not take long to leave his mark on the Kerkrade club that is in the lower half of the table.

Juric has scored seven goals in 12 league and cup appearances so far and coach Darije Kalezic has said he is happy with his striker's contribution towards the club's bid to stave off relegation.

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"I went to Roda as Asian champion at club and national level so their expectations were high," said Juric from Zagreb, where he is enjoying a brief holiday before the league resumes in mid-January.

"I think that is what the club wanted from me ... to bring that form to the team and I will try to keep doing that in the second part of the season.

"I always felt I was an important player for Roda and that was made clear to me even before I joined the club.

"I wouldn't say I was under (extra) pressure but I took the expectations as a challenge for me to help Roda become a stable team in the Eredivisie.

"So far so good. I mean you always want and expect more from yourself in whatever you do in life but overall I think I have made some noise in Europe and if I continue this way I will be happy."

Juric's rise to fame is nothing less than extraordinary. He burst onto the A-League scene less than three years ago as a virtual unknown when he joined Adelaide United as an injury replacement in February 2013 and has never looked back.

Six days after signing for the Reds he scored on his debut against Sydney FC and in May 2013 the Wanderers beat other contenders for his prized signature.

After making his Socceroos debut in July 2013, Juric helped the Wanderers reach the A-League grand final in 2014 and later on in the year scored the winning goal in the Wanderers' AFC Champions League final against Al Hilal.

The high point in his career was to come almost a year ago when he was a member of the Socceroos' team that won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia.

Juric came on as a substitute in the final against Korea Republic and through sheer persistence provided an assist for James Troisi's winning goal in an epic 2-1 victory.

"That's the beauty of football," he said.

"I don't really think about how quickly things are happening for me became I know my qualities and I always believed that if I continued to work hard I would achieve the things I have until now.

"I think it was the tough moments that made me stronger because when the good times happen you are better prepared to grab them.

"But to be honest sometimes I do surprise myself with the things I do on the pitch, which is great.

"It could be some skill or a fantastic pass or goal that just comes with instinct. They are things you can't teach yourself. You watch the replay on television and say to yourself 'how did I do that?'

"It is what I love about the game. There is never a dull moment in football."

Juric is now an established player in the Socceroos squad and many see him as the natural replacement for veteran Tim Cahill when the legendary striker calls it a day.

"I don't know if I'm being groomed as Timmy's replacement but I know I will get to that position eventually so I'm preparing myself to hit the ground running," he said.

Ange Postecoglou is a fervent believer in the 4-3-3 formation that has brought him much success at club and national level.

But he deployed four midfielders and two strikers in the last two Socceroos matches against Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh, adding "another string to our bow" as he put it.

So where does this leave Juric?

"For me I do prefer 4-3-3 with one striker as this is what I have played for most of my professional career," he explained.

"But playing 4-4-2 for Roda has helped me adapt to that style so I guess it does help my chances of playing but the most important thing for me is that I'm playing regularly at my club and when my time for the national team comes I'm prepared to play my part."


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5 min read
Published 29 December 2015 at 9:27am
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS