Thursday, May 22, 2008

Can Josh be lured home?

What is a young guy who played his early football at Berserker doing in Romania? As Josh Rose would tell you, he's forging a decent career in the hard world of professional football. It has been a long journey for Rose from local Capricornia football, through to a three-year stint with the Brisbane Strikers and then a spell with the New Zealand Knights before signing for Universitatea Craiova in 2006. However, don't place a bet on the 26 year-old ending his playing days in the heart of Europe. "I've got one year left on my contract," he said. The club, which is situated about three hours west of Bucharest and plays in the top division of Romanian football, is pleased with Rose and the three other Australians in the present team. "When I arrived we had just been relegated," Rose said. The club bounced back into the country's top flight but is finding it hard establishing itself there, finishing ninth in both of its two campaigns. When he returns for pre-season training in June the club want to talk to him about an extension to his contract. However, Rose admits while remuneration is good the lifestyle in Australia beckons him, his partner Jeni and their baby Jai. "I've talked to a few clubs while I've been here," he admitted. Those discussions were informal but Rose is tempted by the A-League and the opportunities it presents. "One of the reasons (for returning) is the national coach being here and picking A-League players," he said. Considered talented in Australia, Rose said his game has improved since playing in Europe. Locally supporters talk about the woes of the Cougars in the goalscoring department and recall the striking capabilities of Rose. However in recent times his natural attacking skills have been reshaped and he now turns out in a left defensive position. "It's worked in my favour," he said. "Clubs these days look for players who are more versatile." His linguistic ability has also been tested but he has learned enough to know what Romanians are saying and get his own message across. Rose isn't even having problems with the language on the training pitch. "The coach is Italian and knows little of the language," he said. "His assistant is Romanian but can speak some English." On the park Rose said he and the other Australians talk in Romanian even though their team mates speak a little English. The language is not the only difference to football in Australia. "We play a lot more games," he said recognising this is an area of concern for national coaches picking A-League players. While A-League crowds are excellent the Romanian supporters are passionate about "the beautiful game". "Football is their life over there," he said. "Lose a game and they can go crazy." Not something needed when Universitatea Craiova pulls crowds of 30-35,000 against top Bucharest sides. So what did Rose think of the Cougars match with NQ Razorbacks at the weekend. "I wish it (QSL) had been around when I was playing here, it's lot quicker than when I played for Berserker, the standard is not too bad. "For 16-17 year-olds it is something to look to." Rose said the two wide players, Michael Cay and Johnathon Sauer impressed him. "The young boys in the team can only get better and better," he added. The Cougars, of course, has a blend of players in its squad and Rose remembered a few of them from his time here. "I played with Bobsie (Roy Bob) and Smithy (assistant coach Brad Smith)," he recalled. "Spotty (Clayton Rowland) was always tough to play against and Coxie (Danny Cox) was a very good striker." Rose and his family left Rockhampton yesterday for Brisbane and return to Romania in a couple of weeks.

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