Mr Personality: Why Danny Vukovic still smiles - even if he's had a bad day

Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic is the latest subject of a regular feature where The World Game has a bit of fun with the game's stars by asking them questions they wouldn't normally be asked and letting their personalities shine.

Danny Vukovic, Twitter

Danny Vukovic and son Harley (Twitter) Source: Twitter

Vukovic told TWG:

How much joy his first child has brought into his life;
Why Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper in the world;
Cooking is his favourite form of relaxation;
The sky's the limit for Mat Ryan;
His favourite place football has taken him to;
What he tells young players who ask for advice.

TWG: You celebrated the birth of your first child, Harley, during the off-season. How old is the little fellow now?

DV: The little guy is almost 12 weeks old and he's a great kid. He's a happy boy and my wife, Kristy, and I are just loving every minute of having him around and being new parents.

TWG: Are you putting in the hard yards? Are you doing enough to be in the running for father of the year or what?

DV: Ahh, no, I think Kristy is more of a chance of being mother of the year. There was a stage there where I was trying to get up and help with night-time feeds, but it's tough when you've got full training days and the rest of it. But we've worked it out and we try to help each other as much as possible and when I get home from training I do my bit. It is a new challenge since he has arrived and it has given me a new perspective on life. It's just fantastic.

TWG: Have you got the urge to have more kids? Do you think you would like a whole clan?

DV:  I'd love to have more kids and certainly we plan to have more kids somewhere down the line. But it's not something we've really spoken about at this stage, when the next one's going to come - we're just enjoying having the first one for the time being.

TWG: Do you find you want to rush home from training sometimes to see him?

DV: Yeah, mate, it's an amazing thing. Previously, if I had a bad day at training I'd stew on it, but if it happens now I get home and all those worries are gone as soon as I see him. It's a great distraction to have and, yeah, I can't wait to get home from training or if I'm away for a game I can't wait to get back and spend time with my wife and our child.

TWG: When you're not training, playing or doing fatherly duties, how do you relax?

DV: There's not a lot of time for that now. Everyone tells you prior to your having your first child about sleep deprivation and all the spare time being gone, but until you experience it you never know what it's really like. I do a lot of cooking at home, so that's a bit of an escape for me. I enjoy doing it and sometimes it's nice to put all of my effort into something else other than football. Preparing the evening meal for the family is my form of relaxation.

TWG: What sort of music do you like?

DV: I like a bit of everything. A bit of R&B and a lot of stuff on the radio. If it's a catchy tune, I like it. I'm not particularly into one thing or another. It depends on how I feel that day. One day it might be R&B and the next day I could be listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers or something like that. Depends on the mood.

TWG: Is there a television show you simply have to watch every week?

DV: Not really. Not much time to watch TV anymore. I'm just trying to think what the last show was that I was watching regularly . . . I liked House of Cards - that was the last show I was watching.

TWG: Who, in your opinion, is the best goalkeeper in the world?

DV: Best goalkeeper in the world . . . There are so many good ones, but my favourite at this point in time would be Manuel Neuer. He has reinvented the goalkeeping role as the second sweeper sort of thing, plus he's an outstanding athlete and shot-stopper. He would be my favourite.

TWG: When you pull off a cracking save, how does it make you feel?

DV: It is a great feeling. Usually it's the strikers who get all the glory, scoring goals and winning games and things like that, but goalkeepers can do it as well. It's nice to deny a striker from scoring goals. It's funny, you can make a great save but you only get a split-second to think about it because you have to worry about what's happening next in the game. It is a wonderful feeling, but you have to get your mind straight back on the job.

TWG: You've had a couple of cracks at playing overseas which didn't work out for reasons that were out of your control. Are you keen to try again?

DV: I would never say never. I've learned in football that things happen and things can change  very quickly, but I'm just loving every minute of being a Melbourne Victory player and that's all I'm thinking about, the next game for Melbourne Victory and the upcoming season. It's an exciting time for me. I really haven't thought about overseas since I signed with Melbourne Victory. This is where I want to be right now - I love it here.

TWG: Football has taken you to a number of different countries. Which one was your favourite?

DV: Most of the time when you're travelling as part of a team to play you don't get much time to see anything apart from the inside of hotels. But I had a season at Wellington Phoenix and I really enjoyed the city of Wellington. Apart from the wind there, which everyone knows about, it's a great little city. It actually reminds me a bit of Melbourne with the cafe and restaurant scene. I spent seven months there and had a great time, so that would be my pick.

TWG: Mat Ryan was coming through as a teenage goalkeeper when you were the main man at Central Coast Mariners. Do you still keep in touch with him now that he's playing overseas?

DV: I do, yeah, on social media and we send a few text messages here and there. His story is an amazing one and I'm very proud of him and what he has achieved. Really, the sky is the limit for him. He's at one of the bigger clubs in the world already and I think he can go even further than that. He's a special talent and we're lucky to have him as our first-choice Socceroos goalkeeper.

TWG: Finally, what is the best advice you could give to a junior goalkeeper, 16 or 17, who is showing real promise?

DV: I get asked  this sort of question a lot and I always say the same thing, which is basically the same as what John Crawley, one of the most important people in my career, told me and that is that goalkeeping is not all about shot-stopping. I think young goalkeepers tend to think that's what it's all about - pulling off the cracking save, keeping the ball out of the back of the net - and that is obviously a very big part of it, but there are other aspects that are very important as well. Taking a high ball, being good with your feet, agility, communication. So it's not just about shot-stopping, goalkeeping encompasses a lot more than just that and it's important to work on every aspect of the role. That would be my best advice.

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8 min read
Published 25 September 2015 at 4:49pm
By Greg Prichard