There’s been a familiar face around Newcastle Jets training this week.
Fresh from an incredible Emperor’s Cup win with J-League club, Urawa Red Diamonds, and with the upcoming Asian Cup in mind, Andrew Nabbout has jetted back into the Hunter for a few days.
And in the interest of staying fit and sharp ahead of the international tournament in the UAE, the Australia international has spent two days training in Newcastle with his former Club.
When the chance arose for the winger to return to Newcastle for a couple of days, he and wife, Sam, jumped at the chance.
“It does [feel like home], to me and my wife, she’s back in Newcastle with me as well,” Nabbout said.
“When I told her we can come back to Newcastle, she said, “Yep, book me a flight, I’m coming with you.’
“It’s a really good town, and I automatically feel relaxed here.”
It’s been a battle for gametime in Japan for Nabbout, who has had to contend with squad depth and a dislocated shoulder he suffered playing against Denmark at the FIFA World Cup in June.
After an initial diagnosis in which Australia medical staff expected a six month recovery period, Nabbout put his mind to getting back on the pitch in time for the Asian Cup in January.
He ended up returning to the first team in late October, and made seven appearances at the back end of the season – which makes his training with the Jets all the more valuable.
“It was ideal for me, and I’m grateful to Ernie and the staff for allowing me to come back and join in for a few sessions,” the 26-year-old said.
“They gave me the option to come to Newy, and they didn’t have to ask me twice.”
Despite departing Australian shores in March, Nabbout has been sure to keep on top of affairs here in Newcastle.
The winger attended the Jets Round 8 clash with Perth, but has been around all of the Hyundai A-League action this season.
“I watch the game every week. I wish I had a pair of boots on Sunday to jump on,” Nabbout said.
“The boys are doing well, they played really well against Perth and it was unfortunate at times, that that’s the way the game goes. You play really well, but the ball doesn’t go in.
“It just takes one or two games on a roll to really click into gear, and I’m sure Ernie will get the boys doing that.”
And when asked about a potential return to Newcastle?
“One day, I’ll be back. I told Lawrie that if I come back to the A-League, it’s his door that I’m going to be knocking on first,” Nabbout said, with a smile.
“Newcastle is a home to me, they gave me an opportunity to come back and a platform to succeed. I gave Lawrie my word that if the time was right, I was ready to come back, I’d be more than happy to come back here.”