Tried-and-tested Ugarkovic explains why he chose the Phoenix

-

Steven Ugarkovic is excited about the challenge at Wellington Phoenix and has explained how maturing at a young age has helped him over his career.

Embed from Getty Images

Ugarkovic signed with Wellington Phoenix earlier this year, joining his third club in the space of seven years.

Ugarkovic spent five years at Newcastle Jets from 2016 to 2021 before returning home to Sydney to join the Wanderers last season, but was keen to have a fresh start in New Zealand. 

“The boss [Ufuk Talay] called me quite early towards the backend of last season saying he was interested,” he said.

“I was just weighing up things, obviously getting married, I was keen for a new challenge on the field and somewhere that suited my playing style.

“I wanted to be happy again playing my football.” 

Embed from Getty Images

At age 17, Ugarkovic left his family in Sydney to move to Croatia, signing for NK Osijek where he begun in their U19 team. 

 “It was tough going over at 17 making my decision to try my luck over there and going with no family, it was probably the toughest period of my life, not knowing the language and having to pick that up,” he said.

Embed from Getty Images

“Looking back at it, it was the best thing I have ever done, because it made me grow up a lot faster and mature a lot quicker than most people do, so that’s something I look back on with a lot of memories and the tough times that made me stronger as a person and as a player.” 

The ex-Australia U23 midfielder enjoyed the cut-throat side of things over in Croatia, particularly the promotion and relegation battles. 

“We went into a relegation battle at my first year in the first team. It was my most enjoyable year of my life football wise, scraping each game,” he said.

buy elavil online buy elavil no prescription

Two years later, Ugarkovic went out on loan to second-tier side HNK Gorica where it was a different kind of football.

buy temovate online buy temovate no prescription

 

“A bit more solid paced in the second league, but there was a bit of problems where I wasn’t playing as regularly as I wanted, but that’s football sometimes, you can’t control everything,” he said.

Embed from Getty Images

For Australian players moving to New Zealand, it can be scary. But the opportunity to play under Ufuk Talay is something you can’t pass up and Ugarkovic has always admired the style of football the Phoenix play. 

“I have always enjoyed the way the Phoenix play with the ball, I feel like that is a style that suits me, so they were probably the main ones where I wanted to play defensive midfield again, cause last year I did play a little bit higher which is something I wasn’t a massive fan of,” he said.

“I like playing the defensive-midfield role and that’s where I feel like I do my best work.” 

Ugarkovic believes the Nix have a very good squad depth and the young players and the foreign players have gelled well. 

Embed from Getty Images

“You look at the game on the weekend, we had three internationals coming off the bench and coming on the field, that’s a pretty good sign,” he said.

“Come down and support the boys, we have shown last weekend that we can perform with 10 players and we have a good bunch of boys.

buy fildena online buy fildena no prescription

   

Feature image credit: Photomac

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Nick Jensen
Nick Jensen
Journalism Student at Massey University Wellington and a passionate Football Fan, covering the Wellington Phoenix Men and Women for the 2022/23 season.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required