McGing in awe of new boy Garcia

Central Coast Mariners rookie Jake McGing was just 10 years old when Luis Garcia became one of his idols and now he is coming to terms with the thought of actually playing alongside the former Liverpool star.


Luis Garcia signing autographs for Mariner's fans at Sydney Airport Source: AAP

Garcia arrived in Australia on Thursday to begin his stint with the bottom club in the A-League and is scheduled to train with the Mariners for the first time on Friday, when McGing is looking forward to meeting him. 

"The whole club is on a high," McGing said. "We're very excited to have a player like Luis Garcia here. Me, personally, I'm a Liverpool fan as well, so I spent many years watching him when he was playing for the club. It's going to be great to be in the same team as him.

"I was pretty young when I first saw him play. I was in primary school and watching Liverpool play all the time and then he came into the team. It's going to feel weird seeing him in the flesh and meeting him - I'm really looking forward to it."

McGing, 21, was born in 1994 and Garcia, 37, played for Liverpool from 2004 to 2007, appearing in 121 English Premier League games and scoring 30 goals.

Asked if he thought he might be awestruck and lost for words when he first meets Garcia, McGing replied with a laugh: "I'll probably be a bit in awe, but hopefully I should be able to get a few words out. It's one of the reasons football is a wonderful game, when things like this can happen.

"I'm not too sure what it'll be like at training on Friday. He'll come in and train with the boys and once things settle down it will probably be business as usual as we prepare for the game. Hopefully he'll be in the squad for the weekend and we'll go from there."

Asked what it was about Garcia's game that he particularly admired, McGing replied: "When he was at Liverpool I loved watching him play because of his technical ability on the ball and his ability to score goals, which was a big thing he brought to the team. Hopefully he can do that for us as well."

Central Coast coach Tony Walmsley will obviously be looking to position Garcia where he can have the greatest impact on the team's fortunes, most likely in a playmaker role.

"I haven't heard much about what position he'll be playing in, but I guess he could easily slot into that type of (number 10) role," McGing said. "I'm not too sure, I guess we'll learn more on Friday."

Garcia's entry into the team - if he indeed starts the game against Western Sydney Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday - could result in a tweak to the team's playing formation of recent weeks.

McGing, after starting the season in the central defence, has been playing in central midfield recently, often in a holding capacity but also going forward at times as well.

"I was a midfielder my whole career before this season, so it hasn't been too much of a transition for me to go back there. I still feel in the groove in the midfield, but I'll play wherever the gaffer wants me to. It doesn't bother me either way, because I like midfield and central defence."

After charging to the top of the competition table, Wanderers have lost their last two games and slipped to second.

McGing played in the youth team at Wanderers before joining Mariners last season and knows what to expect from the red and blacks under coach Tony Popovic.

"They're obviously going to be fired up for the game against us," he said. "They'll want to put in a big performance considering they've lost their last two, so we're going in expecting them to come out firing and we're going to have to be ready to deal with that."

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4 min read
Published 21 January 2016 at 1:38pm
By Greg Prichard