Australia star Alex Brosque will be rewarded for his strong performances at J.League club Shimizu S-Pulse with an offer of a contract extension.
Since joining the Japanese club on a two-year deal in early 2011, Brosque has excelled in a versatile attacking role, cementing a starting berth in midfield and earning a regular Socceroos spot as a striker.
The news may come as a blow for Sydney FC fans, after Brosque vowed to return to the club he helped win the A-League championship in 2010.
A string of polished performances in central midfield, however, has convinced Shimizu coach Afshin Ghotbi that Brosque has a big future with the J.League side.
"My contract expires at the end of this year but indications are that the club will offer me an extension and I would be more than happy to accept," Brosque said.
"I've spoken to the club about renewing my contract here and it looks like they want me to stay because I must figure in their long-terms plans.
"For me this was great to hear because Shimizu is a good club to play for.
"And it feels great to know that you are esteemed by your coach who has picked me in every match.
"I should know my immediate future in the next month or two.
"Overall I cannot be happier playing in Japan.
"I like it here and so do my wife Nadia and young daughter Christina.
"I'm enjoying it more than I thought I ever would.
"Japan's a bit of a culture change. Everything's a lot smaller here, the portions of food, the cars, the apartments, it's crazy.
"But the people are very friendly and they go out of their way to help you all the time, whether it's with the shopping, the language or if the little one has a temperature and things like that.
"Shimizu even have English-speaking personnel who look after me and my needs.
"I owe the club and Ghotbi a lot for what they have done for my career. The coach in particular always showed faith in me and he is probably the main reason I will probably stay.
"And quite frankly if I am to remain in Japan I cannot see myself playing for any other club.
"My plan was always to play in Japan leading up to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and then return to Australia."
Shimizu started the 2012 J.League season strongly and at one stage was in second spot on the ladder.
But a series of poor results has seen the club plummet to the bottom half of the table.
"Unfortunately, we are in a bit of a rough period at the moment after a brilliant start to the championship," Brosque said.
"We have gone into a massive free fall and have not won for 10 games and to be honest I do not know what has gone wrong.
"We tried a lot of things but we can't get out of the rut.
"Staying positive is the hardest thing. It's very frustrating."
Brosque has established himself as a midfielder in the Shimizu team but is used as a striker in Holger Osieck's Australia side.
Brosque claimed that his effectiveness as a Socceroos striker has not been affected by the different role he is being asked to play at his club even though he appeared to lack his usual sharpness in his finishing during the recent 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Japan in Brisbane.
On the contrary, he said, this shift might be beneficial in the long run.
"I can see how this topic can come up but when a midfielder plays as a striker he knows how a midfield man gets the ball and when and where he would like to play it so the striker makes the runs accordingly because the two are on the same wavelength," Brosque said.
"From playing in midfield, I now know where I would like the strikers to run so when I'm pushed up front for the Socceroos it changes the way I think.
"Thinking like a midfielder certainly helps. The change of position has actually made me a better player, not dramatically better but just enough to be able to hold my own in Japan.
"In midfield you need to have eyes at the back of your head and this helps me when I'm playing striker because it increases my awareness of what's going on around me.
"It was tough at first and I was completely out of my depth in midfield but through training and the persistence shown by Ghotbi in keeping me there I managed to adjust to the way football is played here and I feel more comfortable now.
"And, besides, after playing for so many years as a striker you never really lose your touch in the penalty area."
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