Football 12 months ago

Jedinak has nothing to prove

  • Jedinak has nothing to prove

    PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 01: Mile Jedinak of Australia controls the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between the Australian Socceroos and Iraq at nib Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak says there will always be a place in his heart for former club Crystal Palace as he embarks on life outside the Premier League with Aston Villa.

The 32-year-old made an emotional departure from Selhurst Park last month after five eventful seasons with the South London club where he played under an astonishing 10 different managers.

There was a flirtation with a drop to the third tier in 2011, followed by a shock promotion through an extra-time play-off win at Wembley 12 months later resulting in three Premier League campaigns.

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Then in May, Jedinak skippered the club to a first FA Cup final appearance in 26 years against Manchester United.

"When you spend five years somewhere, and go through pretty much everything you can with a football club, it was special," he said.

"It was a good time in my career, the last five years, and it wasn't just what we built on the field.

"I was able to start a family in London and so on. It's a very dear place to my heart and will continue to be."

The combative midfielder was controversially stripped of the captaincy by Palace boss Alan Pardew at the start of the campaign and then shown the exit door after the season-opening 1-0 loss to West Brom earlier this month.

After the game, Jedinak tossed his shirt his shirt into the crowd as he made an emotional farewell to the Eagles fans.

But the former Central Coast Mariner insists he's not driven to silence his doubters.

"I don't have to prove anything to anybody. Anyone who knows me in the football industry knows what I'm about," he said.

"It's about new challenge and a new chapter.

"If everything goes into place it will be a fantastic journey bringing this club back to where it should be, and shouldering some of the responsibility makes me feel very privileged."

Villa finished rock bottom of the Premier League last season and were relegated to the second tier for the first time in almost three decades.

Jedinak said moving with his family to Birmingham would help him mentally make a shift between the challenge of Premier League consolidation with Palace to restoring pride with Villa.

"If you understand the magnitude of how big a football club Aston Villa is, there's a lot to be excited about," he said.

"There's great ambition there to return to the Premier League.

"I know from experience that it will never be easy but that's the challenge and one I will give my all to."

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