Osama Malik commits to United

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Adelaide United has confirmed that defender-cum-midfielder Osama Malik will remain at the club, having committed himself to Josep Gombau’s squad for two more years.

The 24-year-old Adelaide local has been an integral member of Adelaide’s successful squad this season as he formed successful relationships with fellow defenders Tarek Elrich and Nigel Boogaard.

But it’s his athleticism and brave defending that has helped Malik become one of the most respected players in the A-League over the last two years, despite the fact that he still feels he’s got more to learn in the top flight of Australian football.

In an Adelaide United media release on Thursday Malik said: “in the last year or so, I’ve learnt so much under Josep and the coaching staff, but I think I have a lot more to learn from them, so I’m looking forward to improving as a player over the next few years.”

“(Over the next few years) I want to become an important part of this team, grow as a person, become a bit more of a leader,” he said.

It’s a good time for the former North Queensland Fury player to express leadership ambitions as his club continues its drive to Asian Championship qualification.

Despite faltering with some mid-season blues, the Reds are still a very good chance of qualifying for the continent’s supreme club championship, and Malik said it would be bitterly disappointing if his side were to fall short of playing in the competition after the A-League’s tenth season.

“Since I came back (to United) I’ve been part of some quality teams, but I think in terms of team chemistry, I think this is, by far, the best it’s ever been,” he said

“Fortunately, most of us (players) have re-signed and we’ve got a very good squad and one that can push on and hopefully achieve some more things in the next few years.

“If we don’t finish in the top three this season, I think it’ll be disappointing for everyone. We definitely have the arsenal in our team to go all the way.

“We’ve shown in the past that this is a club that can compete in Asia and we’ve made the final as well, but domestic success is also very important for us.”

Malik is one of the most important signatures for Gombau to achieve this season, with Boogaard confirming that he will leave the club for cellar-dwellers Newcastle Jets next season.

But it wasn’t always easy going. The Football Sack reported a fortnight ago that Malik was holding out on putting ink to paper following some interest from clubs in Europe.

That would have meant a significant defensive reshuffle for Gombau in the off-season, but it’s one less thing for the Spaniard to worry about as the season draws to a close.

With Malik’s future secure the Reds squad can switch its focus to its bitter – and incredibly important – rivalry clash with Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

If Osama Malik wants to display leadership potential, this is the time to do it.

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