David Carney vowed to make up for lost time and force his way back into contention for Australia’s FIFA 2014 World Cup after signing for New York Red Bulls.
Out of the game since parting ways with Uzbekistan club Bunyodkor in October, Carney is desperate to reclaim his left-back spot with the national team as he resurrects his career alongside Socceroos teammate Tim Cahill in the MLS.
Speaking for the first time since his exit from Tashkent after the deal was sealed on Friday, Carney, 29, brimmed with optimism as he focused on the 11 months leading towards Brazil.
“I hope to hit the ground running in New York, it’s an exciting move for me and to be at the same club as Tim Cahill is an added bonus,” he said.
“Timmy has only good things to say about the club and how much he is enjoying his football and life in New York and, to be honest, it didn’t take much selling.
“I just want to get myself over there. Get playing as soon as possible."
“I have huge ambition to play at another World Cup and I’ll be doing everything in my power to make sure I am selected again.
“But first I have to get myself some game time and build from there with the Red Bulls. It’s a huge year ahead for all the Australian players, no matter where they are.”
Carney, who has joined the club until the end of the season, has been earmarked as a left-sided midfielder or defender by Red Bulls’ sporting director Andy Roxburgh. He has an option for two further seasons if both parties are happy.
“Obviously they have Timmy and there’s also Thierry Henry and everybody knows that the MLS is going from strength to strength,” Carney said.
The left side of Australia's defence has been a problem area for Socceroos coach Holger Osieck, who has deployed now-clubless midfielder Matt McKay in the role, with the ongoing unavailability of injury-prone Michael Zulllo.
While Carney had interest from the A-League, including his former club Sydney FC, he was determined to continue his career overseas – and despite the frustrations was willing to bide his time in search of the right opportunity.
He has been training daily with a personal fitness conditioner in Manchester during his hiatus and according to his agent, Tom Brookes, Carney’s never been in better shape, with his body fat ratio at its lowest for seven years as he heads to the Big Apple, pending his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate.
“I want to have a big season to give myself a chance of a recall. The national team did the job well in three qualifiers in June, but I’d love to be a part of things again,” Carney said.
Carney, whose career stops include Sheffield United, Norwich, FC Twente and Blackpool, came close to signing for Iran club Persepolis in November but opted not to take the offer.
He was close to a move to the United Arab Emirates in May, when ex-England coach Sven Goran Eriksson, then the technical director at Al Nasr, made an approach to sign Carney on a three-year deal.
Eriksson was then appointed head coach of Chinese Super League (CSL) club Guangzhou R&F, scuppering any hopes of a deal.
Carney has 46 caps for Australia and last played for the national team in its 2-1 loss to Jordan in September.
“Holger Osieck has been in touch a few times and he is very keen for me to get myself playing again as soon as possible and I fully understand that. I think the opportunity is now there to do that,” he said.
“I can’t wait to get back playing."
Carney will hope to be eligible for New York’s next home game against Philadelphia on 18 August (AEST).
“David is an experienced international player, who can play on the left side both as a defender and a midfielder, and he provides us much needed cover,” said Roxburgh. “He is versatile and athletic and has competed at a high level.”
Veteran defender William Gallas has set his sights on securing a contract extension at Perth Glory as he bids to help the club atone for its under-achieving season.