My feet!

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

THE 2014 World Cup was the first ma­jor tour­na­ment I ex­pe­ri­enced as a Hud­der­s­field Town sup­porter.

And while it was a great plea­sure to wake up in the early hours here in Malaysia to root for an­other blue and white team, Ar­gentina, I felt sad that Los Ter­ri­ers weren’t rep­re­sented among the 32 com­peti­tor na­tions.

For me per­son­ally, hav­ing a player from your club rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try at a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ment is a pres­tige in and of it­self.

Fast for­ward four years, and that dream is on the brink of be­com­ing a re­al­ity, thanks to a bald Aussie ge­nius who made his way from Mel­bourne to Hud­der­s­field in the sum­mer of 2016.

Aaron Mooy was ini­tially signed by Manch­ester City, be­fore be­ing loaned to David Wag­ner’s team.

The tech­ni­cally gifted and at­tack minded player turned out to be the cru­cial piece in Wag­ner’s jig­saw.

In con­trast to his fel­low coun­try­man and Town player, Ja­son David­son, Mooy in­gra­ti­ated him­self to the Town faith­ful with his cool, calm, and hum­ble de­meanour, pre­fer­ring to do his talk­ing on the field.

His tremen­dous work ethic and pass­ing re­minded me of An­dres Ini­esta, and his 25-yard strike against Leeds United at El­land Road ce­mented his sta­tus as an in­stant le­gend.

With Aus­tralia, Mooy played an im­por­tant role in their wins over the UAE and Saudi Ara­bia.

De­feat against Ja­pan in Au­gust, how­ever, dented their chance of an au­to­matic route to Rus­sia.

In their last group match against a re­silient Thai­land, a curl­ing cross from Mooy found Tom Juric, who broke the dead­lock in the 69th minute.

Aus­tralia went on to win the match 2-1, set­ting the stage for a gru­elling two-leg play-off against Syria.

The Syr­ian’s were no pushover, hold­ing the Aussies to a 1-1 draw in the first-leg, which, for diplo­matic and prac­ti­cal rea­sons, was held in Malaysia.

In the re­turn leg in Syd­ney, the Aus­tralian coach, Ange, made the sur­prise de­ci­sion to bench Mooy.

The Syr­i­ans took an early lead in the 5th minute, and in the 10th minute, Ange was forced to bring Mooy on af­ter Brad Smith was in­jured.

From then on, the game be­gan to move in Aus­tralia’s favour. It didn’t take long for the Soc­ceroos to equal­ize courtesy of Tim Cahill.

The match went to ex­tra-time and Mooy had a hand in the win­ning goal af­ter he clev­erly slot­ted the ball to Rob­bie Kruse, whose per­fect cross found a leap­ing Cahill, who headed home to se­cure the vic­tory.

A 0-0 draw and 3-1 win for Aus­tralia against Hon­duras in the In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Play-Off was enough to send the Aussies to Rus­sia. Mooy, then, looks al­most cer­tain to be the first Ter­rier in 56 years to take part in the world’s big­gest sin­gle sport­ing event.

Based on his cur­rent form and his com­pe­ti­tion in cen­tral mid­field, it would be im­pos­si­ble for new coach Bert van Mar­wijk to ig­nore him.

Mooy was also nom­i­nated for the 2017 Foot­baller of the Year at the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion’s an­nual awards, nar­rowly miss­ing on out the main prize to Tot­ten­ham’s Son He­ung-Min.

Mooy’s Dan­ish team­mates Jonas Loessl and Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jor­gen­son are also in with a shout of mak­ing the World Cup, not to men­tion Bel­gium’s finest, Lau­rent De­poitre.

So, I’m hope­ful that com­men­ta­tors at the World Cup will men­tion “Hud­der­s­field Town” when our proud Ter­ri­ers take to the field.

That it­self will only en­hance the club’s rep­u­ta­tion and makes it even more at­trac­tive for fu­ture in­ter­na­tion­als.

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