28 July 2010-SBS: Daniel Phan
AEK Athens midfielder Nathan Burns believes his spell on loan at Kerkyra, in addition to AEK’s rigorous pre-season campaign, could put him in line for a return to the Socceroos.
“I hope I get my club career right this season, get some game time, play for AEK, score some goals and then the Socceroos will come, hopefully,” the former Adelaide United player told The World Game in Sydney on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old looked sharp in his 30 minute cameo for AEK last Sunday in the 5-3 win over Sydney FC in the opening match of the four-team Festival of Football.
After nine goal in 30 games last season in Greece’s second tier for promoted Kerkyra, Burns has put himself right in the frame for a regular spot in AEK’s first team.
“All I have to do is crack the first-team now, score some goals, have a good season. I have one more year on my contract left after this year so if it goes to plan, it will all work out perfect,” he said.
With the Australia national team without a coach after Pim Verbeek’s departure post World Cup, Burns is just focussing on what is in his control.
“For now, they haven’t even picked a coach so well wait and see what happens,” he said. “Obviously football is all about coaches opinions.
“Maybe they will sign a coach who likes me or loves me you don’t know. Or maybe he doesn’t even rate me at all.” Burns is adamant he took the correct decision last season in seeking a loan move from AEK in his second season after a lack of first-team opportunities.
“As a foreign player, it’s not easy to go on loan. I took the chance, the risk to go to the second division, which I copped a bit of criticism for. But overall I think it worked out good for my career,” he explained.
“Most importantly I got respect from the Greeks, which was probably the main part of the whole loan deal.”
Though admitting there was little interaction between him and AEK coach Dusan Bajevic, Burns is confident he figures in his plans for the upcoming season, given his versatility on the park.
“I haven’t really spoken to him one-on-one but you can kind of get the vibe from training if he has you in his plans,” Burns added.
“Obviously it’s tough to crack the starting line-up because we have great players but I think I’m in his plans and I will get game time over the next couple of games.
“I think the coach sees me as the player who can play several positions: I can play left, right and I think that in this tournament he might even play me up front.
“It’s good that I can play these different positions because it gives me the opportunity to play several positions. If someone gets injured it’s a good chance to play.”
AEK faces EPL side Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday evening before finishing up its Australian tour against Scottish champion Rangers on Saturday, with Burns keen to see more such tournaments arranged down under.
And later this year Burns could be in the reckoning for European football, with AEK qualified for the 2010-2011 Europa League play-offs.