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Roar move feels right, says Nijland

Brisbane Roar signing Stefan Nijland said he knows little about the A-League, but is confident his switch to Australia was the right move.

Nijland arrived in Brisbane on Thursday after flying from his native Netherlands to join the Roar on a loan spell until the end of the season.

The attacking midfielder is owned by Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven but was playing on for NEC Nijmegen on loan before his move to the Roar.

The 24-year-old’s career has stalled in recent years after a bright start. A series of injuries meant he was unable to get regular playing time at PSV, and was loaned out, first to Willem II and then to Nijmegen.

Nijland said he was convinced the Roar was the right team for him, despite some offers on the table from other Dutch teams, after a phone call to coach Mike Mulvey.

“I had a few options but they were not for the right position. I think for me it’s important, I’m 24 and I have to play games, and in the right position,” Nijland said.

“And then I got this opportunity. So I thought about it, I spoke with my manager, with my dad, with my girlfriend – because I have a young son of four months.

“So it’s a big step, but we all thought it’s the best thing to do.

“It’s a big chance to play in a really different league, different style of football.

“I think I’m a real football player, a technical player. I like to play at number 10. That’s one of the biggest reasons for coming here, I talked to the trainer last Saturday and he told me, ‘we are looking for a number 10, a real football player.’”

The Dutchman said he had to look up Brisbane on the map when he first heard of the Roar offer. He attended Roar training hours after arriving on Thursday morning and met his new team-mates for the first time.

Brisbane play the table-topping Central Coast Mariners on Friday night and Nijland said he is ready to contribute.

“I spoke to some team-mates and now I have to learn their names,” he said.

“I feel good enough to play minutes. I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow with the jetlag, but for now I feel good.

The new recruit explained that he is most comfortable playing behind the strikers, though he hopes to contribute goals as well as create chances for others.

“Second striker I’ve played, sometimes, but I want to play in the centre, that’s for me the most important (thing). They are my best qualities so I hope I can play most of the time in the centre,” he said.

“From what I hear Brisbane Roar is the best footballing team in the league, so I hope I can do my best here and score goals and make assists.

“I only saw a few (A-League) games on YouTube, but that’s all, so I’m curious about tomorrow.”

Thu 31 January, 2013
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