Ruben Zadkovich says he is relishing the added responsibility that has been bestowed upon him by Gary van Egmond.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets midfielder Ruben Zadkovich says he is relishing the added responsibility that has been bestowed upon him by Jets head coach Gary van Egmond.
Zadkovich-s performances as a vital cog in the centre of the Jets- midfield have impressed many observers so far this pre-season, including van Egmond.
The 26-year-old said it had been a priority of his to become more of a leader within the playing group in 2012/13.
“At the end of last year I had a good, long chat with Dutchy (van Egmond) about what he wanted from me and I told him I-m willing to do whatever he wants to do,” Zadkovich explained.
“I-ve worked on a few aspects of my game in terms of my intensity and how I-m applying myself to training, and also having more of a leadership role with the young guys.
“I thoroughly enjoy it because they-re such great kids. I just remember what it was like when I was their age so I-m looking forward to setting a good example.
“To get (positive) feedback (from the coach) is great, but it doesn-t mean by any means that the job is done.
“I-ve just got to keep working and keep advancing towards the season. It-s important that I maintain my standards.”
With the start of the A-League season still two months away, there is certainly no shortage of competition for places in the Jets- midfield, punctuated by the signing of 22-year-old Brazilian Bernardo Ribeiro.
Zadkovich said he was looking forward to linking up with his new teammate.
“I can-t wait,” he said.
“I don-t know much about him to be honest, but I-m sure he-s a quality player and it will be good to have another fresh face in the squad as well as someone who offers something a little bit different.”
The Jets will play their next pre-season fixture against the NBN State League Select team at Adamstown Oval on Wednesday night.
Zadkovich said the fixture was another important part of their preparations for the upcoming A-League season.
“We-re looking at the long term at the moment, just focusing on the way we want to play when the season comes and this is just another stepping stone along the way,” he said.
“The game on Wednesday is obviously important. We can try a few things and try and get some good combinations between players.
“For me personally, it-s not so much about the score. It is important to make winning a habit, but it-s more just about the way we play and the quality and the tempo at which we play the game.
“We had a pretty solid performance against them last time and we-ll probably be looking to do something similar and just build on that with our combination play and stuff like that.”
Match details: Newcastle Jets v NBN State League Select Adamstown Oval Wednesday, August 8 Kick-off 6.30pm