Duzel dreams of more United milestones

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Adelaide United midfielder, Luke Duzel, is fixed on further ambition after he became the 200th player to represent the Club during Sunday’s Original Rivalry against Melbourne Victory.

Duzel was substituted onto the pitch after 89 minutes for his first A-League appearance after joining the Reds at the start of February.

It was a surreal moment for the midfielder, who has spent the entirety of his young career to date in the west of Melbourne, while also representing Australia on stages as big the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil.

He is settling well in ‘enemy territory’ and enjoying a relaxing vibe around SA with less traffic and beaches that are easily accessible for recovery, or spending time with his new teammates.

“I had no idea that I was the 200th men’s player to represent Adelaide United until the Club posted about it on social media,” Duzel admitted.

“It’s an amazing feeling to actually pull on the shirt and get out on the pitch, let alone to have something like that as a memorable milestone next to my name.

“It was great to get some minutes especially in Melbourne where I’m from, but you turn the allegiance and focus immediately to the shirt you are wearing, that goes without saying.”

Duzel hails from an esteemed footballing family; his father, Ivan, played in the National Soccer League and Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia before that. He also played alongside a young Jurgen Klopp in Germany at Mainz.

Further, his older brothers, Anthony and Daniel, were always highly-regarded throughout juniors and the eldest, Anthony, even trained with Leicester City in the few years before their astonishing title triumph in 2016.

He now plays for Melbourne Knights in Victoria’s NPL and he even started against Adelaide United in their 5-2 loss to the A-League team 2019 Round of 32 Australia Cup clash.

Daniel represents Altona Magic, also in the Victorian NPL, which makes for interesting family dinners.

Luke credits his father, Ivan, as a big inspiration in shaping all three boys’ love for football, and there was always a ball next to him growing up, even “in the cot”.

“I had no choice in the matter, football is in my blood and my whole family plays or has played,” he said.

“Dad has been an inspiration to us all and my mum (Nada) has been amazing in taking the three of us all over Victoria to play games.

“Our weeks were always and still are filled with football for me and my brothers who I also looked up to and played with, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Ivan first arrived in Australia in 1986, and after starting out with St Albans Saints, he played over 50 times for the Knights.

Luke is well on his way there, currently with 17 senior A-League appearances in total after making the switch from Western United.

The 21-year-old has also represented Australia at every underage level bar the Socceroos, and of course it remains a goal for the versatile workhorse who is usually utilised in the ‘eight’ or ‘ten’ positions.

“It’s the biggest honour to represent your country and, stereotypically, it’s what you dream of as a kid,” Duzel said.

“To have been fortunate enough to play for Australia even at the youth level has been amazing and rewarding to have had Trevor Morgan as my national coach in stages, who has made me a better player and person.

“But for now, my dream is to make the biggest impression that I can here in Adelaide and have a really strong end to the season.

“I’d love to impress Carl (Veart) and his coaching staff and keep progressing my career, and I’ve already learnt a lot from them and so many experienced players, like Isaías, Javi Lòpez, and Benny (Halloran) to name a few.”

Duzel will again aim to be included in the match day squad when his Reds take on another one of his former sides, Melbourne City, this Friday night.

He was a regular feature in City’s Youth squad where he was scouted by Western ahead of their inaugural season.

Duzel is prepared for the challenges that will bring: “Football is a rollercoaster, and you can end your career having played for so many different teams and rivals, and even cross-town rivals.

“(I hope) to be playing against a lot of guys I know well on Friday night, which is more incentive to get the three points for my new team.”

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