Western Sydney Wanderers’ marquee signing Shinji Ono said he is ready to play in the club's Round 1 A-League debut against Central Coast Mariners at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday.
Ono arrived in Sydney on Monday to a boisterous reception from fans and confirmed his availability for the club’s first A-league match.
"I feel ready to play on Saturday but I need to speak with my boss," Ono said. "It’s really exciting to be playing here and I want to give all my energy and everything I have to the team."
Wanderers is set to officially unveil Ono at its season launch in Parramatta on Thursday, with the 33 year-old Japan legend expressing his surprise at the welcome he received from fans at Sydney airport.
"It feels so nice to be in Australia and lot of people are here to welcome me," he said. "They sung a song about me and it’s a unbelievable welcome.
Ono, who is a veteran of 56 matches for Japan – including the 1998, 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup campaigns - revealed a tip from his former Shimizu S-Pulse team-mate Alex Brosque played a role in his decision to trade the J.League for the A-League.
"Alex Brosque gave me some information about Sydney and he told me it’s a very nice city and maybe I can have a nice time here," Ono said. "The Japanese fans and media were sad to see me go but they wished me well for a great season here.
"I also wanted to play in the A-League and I want to show the people here what I can do.
"I know Alessandro Del Piero is here already and it will be exciting to play against Sydney FC in round three.
"I came out here once before with Urawa Reds to play against Sydney FC in the AFC Champions League and it’s nice for me to be able to play here now."
Wanderers will formally present its W-League, National Youth League and A-League squads to fans at Parramatta’s Prince Alfred Park from 4.30pm on Thursday.
Parramatta Stadium will host the club's historic first A-League match against Central Coast Mariners from 7.45pm on Saturday 6 October.
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