Five Minutes With… Luka Dukic

National Youth League defender Luka Dukic, who celebrates his 19th birthday later this month, has, in his short football career experiences other players can only dream of.

National Youth League defender Luka Dukic, who celebrates his 19th birthday later this month, has, in his short football career experiences other players can only dream of.

Prior to linking up with the Central Coast National Youth League side ahead of their second campaign Dukic travelled to Serbia and had trials with Partizan Belgrade and FK Rad.

It was an exciting period for the central defender who returned to Australian shores fuelled by a desire to achieve his dreams in football.

Luka Dukic talks to www.ccmariners.com.au about his experiences in Serbia, his interest in scoring goals and what it-s like to play in the National Youth League.

For further information about Luka click here to see his profile page

First junior club, and age started playing, what attracted you to the game? My first junior club was Blacktown and what first attracted me to the game was the chance to score goals. Even though I-m centre back I wanted to score goals. It-s something every player wants to do. I first started playing when I was around 6 years old.

Did you ever play in the forwards or have you been a defender your entire junior career? A couple of seasons ago I played as a striker and I actually managed to score 8 goals that year. That was my one and only year as a striker. After that season I decided I was probably better off playing at centre back.

What would you rate as your biggest strengths defensively? My greatest strength at this point in time is probably winning balls in the air and also my distrubution from the back.

What were your experiences like trialling for Serbian clubs Partizan Belgrade and FK Rad? It was an amazing experience over there. Their facilities were amazing and were the best grounds I-ve ever had the chance to play on. Their training fields are like our stadiums in Australia. It was unbelievable trialling for those particular clubs and it was the best experience of my life.

You-re in a unique position to be able to see what level foreign defenders your age are how did you find that experience? I was really surprised actually, as I was on par with the defenders who were my age. That was really surprising as I thought they would be much more skilful than myself. I think the main difference was the speed that they play the game at. They also have all those facilities open to them every day and they grew up being taught how to play European football. Their players were very sharp in drills. The feedback I got from the coaches over there was positive and they said that I was on par with their younger players.

Has this first taste of what football can offer motivated you to achieve more in Australia? Of course it-s motivated me a lot. Before I went over there I didn-t know what it would be like to trial over there. Coming back with all that feedback from coaches who have played and coached in Europe at the highest level has really helped me. It-s motivated me to achieve here and hopefully one day get the chance to play in Europe.

How have you found the National Youth League season so far? It-s been great and I-m enjoying it a lot. It-s very different to the state premier league where you train a few days a week for a couple of hours at a time. In this competition you-re training regularly and travelling and getting to experience life as a professional player.

Apart from your Serbian experiences, what are your career highlights in football so far? Being selected for the NSW CHS Schoolboys II-s Squad in 2008 and having the chance to represent my state was a big highlight for me.

Any advice you-d give to younger players out there? Work hard and have a picture in your head of where you want to play and work towards it.

What are your goals for the season? Play well, be consistent and hopefully get a sniff of first team football towards the end of the season.