Victory's Ingham keen to make second chance count

Jai ingham has described the opportunity to revive his A-League career with Melbourne Victory as the chance of a lifetime.

Jai Ingham

Source: Melbourne Victory

Ingham was named in an extended squad for Victory's game against Central Coast Mariners at Simonds Stadium in Geelong tonight and is tipped to get a run off the bench.

The 22-year-old made his A-League debut for Brisbane Roar as a 20-year-old, playing just the one game before being released at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Ingham told The World Game he wasn't ready for the rise in class then but is much better prepared now.

"I've grown a lot of since I was at the Roar," Ingham said. "And coming down to Victoria and learning the game physically and mentally with Hume City in the NPL and getting my head around everything, it shows that I've developed.

"I'm very happy to be at Victory. It's the biggest club in Australia and you couldn't ask for much more. I'm much more ready to play in the A-League now.

"When I was at the Roar I only trained with the first team a couple of times a week and the rest of the time with the youth team. At Victory I've been training day in day out with all the boys in the A-League squad and just the quality we have at training, you learn a lot more.

"I have so much more involvement. I've worked the hardest I've ever done in my career and the club is happy with that."

Ingham said he never gave up on the idea of getting back into the A-League.

"I wasn't ready for the A-League when I got a start at the Roar," he said. "It's a huge step, coming from the youth team to A-League, but I've definitely gotten a lot bigger and stronger since then and I'm more mentally ready for it as well. I feel ready, I know I'm ready.

"I never gave up on getting back in. Playing that one game and having the experience of training with the first team at the Roar was unbelievable and I was desperate to get back to this level.
"After I got released I gave it another crack and just tried to prove myself in the NPL in Victoria because it's the second strongest league in Australia, physically and technically. I had a decent season and did alright when we played the Victory in the FFA Cup and that's how I got a look-in.

"When I got in at the Roar they had a few injuries. I got one game off the bench, but after they got a few players back from injury I couldn't break back into the team. But now I've got another chance in the A-League and it's the chance of a lifetime for me."

Ingham has trained with Victory for five weeks and with the club losing players to the Olyroos squad it is a great opportunity for the youngster to show what he can do. He said Victory coach Kevin Muscat had worked closely with him to make sure he was familiar with the team's playing style.

"I haven't played a competitive game for about two months now, but our training is really intense," he said. "I feel good and hopefully I'll get a chance against Central Coast. I train hard anyway and I'd kept in pretty good shape before joining Victory.

"I can handle either wing, but right is my preferred side and that's where Kevin has been training me and showing me most of our attacking and defensive structures.

"Just to get on the pitch would be a blessing. It depends what happens on the day. We obviously have very good wingers at the club in Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Kosta Barbarouses and I'm learning a lot off them. Especially Kosta, just showing me the ropes of the right-wing role.

"Kevin has been talking to me throughout the whole time I've been here, just making sure I know the right wing and left wing roles at Victory off by heart, defensively and in attack.

"He loves his players getting forward and wingers getting at the fullbacks one on one. That's my game and hopefully things work out for me and it's the start of something really good." 

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 8 January 2016 at 2:01pm