Stefan Mauk insists he will be putting his hand up for selection when Round 1 of the Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 season commences in just 16 days’ time.
The 26-year-old is close to completing his second week of full-training and is confident he will feature in some capacity against Perth Glory.
Mauk had previously been running for four weeks’ prior to joining the main group and feels he is making solid progress after recovering from off-season surgery to repair a fracture in his leg.
“I’m going to be doing everything I can to get up to fitness levels,” Mauk told reporters at a training session at St Peter’s College.
“I guess the delay to the season has obviously helped me and I’m feeling good out there.”
The Reds Captain operated in a more advanced role last season which yielded an impressive seven goals.
Mauk was expecting to be deployed in a similar position this year, but maintained he is not fussed whether he plays purely as an attacking midfielder or in his more traditional box-to-box role.
“We’ve obviously brought in Isaías which he’s more of the deep playmaker as such,” he explained.
“I’m happy to play wherever, whether it’s as an eight, as a ten it doesn’t make too much of a difference to me.
“I want to score goals and I like defending, so whether I’m higher up doing that or deeper it doesn’t make too much of a difference.
“I think I’ll still try and play the same way.”
Mauk also discussed Josh Cavallo’s decision to publicly announce he is gay and the incredible, global response that subsequently followed.
He suggested the fact Cavallo felt comfortable to come out to his teammates and the world is a testament to the inclusive environment and strong culture within the dressing room and Club.
“It’s unbelievable and I guess it goes to show everyone at Adelaide, new players that come here straight away always mention how good the culture is,” he said.
“It’s an easy thing to say, but you can understand now by Josh coming out with what he’s done, is not an easy thing to do in sport because he’s the first current footballer to obviously do it that’s playing.
“So it goes to show he feels comfortable in that setting, and that’s from the players, the coaching staff, the admin staff.
“It’s a big thing the Club has really tried to reset in the last couple of years is the culture – not saying it wasn’t good but how can we make it better.
“How can we make people comfortable off the field, so that they can perform on it and it’s an easy thing to say, it’s a hard thing to do.”
Mauk added: “And I think we’ve done that within the group, and you’ll see players playing at their best.
“Josh is now hopefully going to be playing even better than what he was before because he’s feeling a lot freer and more comfortable within the group.
“It’s a great message that he’s brought out that it doesn’t matter who you’re as a person. Football is for everyone.
“And it was really exciting as a teammate to see the likes of (Paul) Pogba and (Marcus) Rashford and Jürgen Klopp the other day – it’s gone viral.”
Saturday, 20 November
A-League 2021/22 Round 1
Kick-off 9.35pm ACDT
Venue: HBF Park