Adam Le Fondre may have just won the Indian Super League (ISL) title with Mumbai City but the former Sydney FC hotshot can’t help feeling a little wistful while watching the most exciting A-League season in years.
The English striker, who left Sydney last year after helping the Sky Blues to successive championships, has followed Australian football fervently, and a little enviously, from India.
“The A-League was on at a perfect time for me in India. It was on around 1pm and it became my ritual to watch it before going to training,” Le Fondre, now quarantining in England, told The World Game.
The 34-year-old, who was second top scorer in the A-League in both of his seasons down under, has been impressed.
“The games have been really open and I was sat there watching and thinking ‘wow, I would have scored at least 10 goals by now!’.
"When I was there it was more like a chess match but there are young players coming through and it has been really exciting with a lot more goals and it is end to end stuff. It’s great to see.”
“It also looks like there is more positivity in the game. Sometimes before, people would put the A-League down.
"It could have been boring for some when I was at Sydney as we dominated and most people don’t want that.
"Now the Mariners are on top and it is more interesting. Will they do a Leicester or will they implode?
"Melbourne City look good with their front three and Sydney are still strong.”
The ex-Reading and Bolton man was happy to stay but then COVID-19 arrived.
“I didn’t want to leave. I loved it in Australia and it ticked a lot of boxes for me and my family, but the landscape had changed in the league because of the pandemic and at that time I didn’t know what was going on and it became untenable really.
"I was in dialogue with [Sydney CEO] Danny Townsend but Sydney couldn’t give me any information as to what was going on as they didn’t have any.
"To leave was the only decision I could make and I thank Sydney for facilitating that and helping me. It’s a great club.”
The move to Mumbai has been a success as Le Fondre found the target 11 times during the season and the team, part of City Football Group’s stable, ended up winning the title to give the striker three successive championship medals.
“It is late in my career but it turned out to be fantastic to be involved with two great teams and win titles in two countries.
"I was happy to be involved and I have been known for scoring crucial goals, goals that mean something. They have helped Sydney and Mumbai win titles and that is what you want.
"It is great to score but it is more important to win things. You have to put the team before your needs and I think I have always done that -- ask any manager I’ve played for and they will say the same.
"I am very much a team player in that respect but I can be selfish at the right moment.
“The A-League is of a higher standard but the Indian league is not that far behind.
"The younger players are improving and I was really impressed. They have really invested over there. There are some heavyweights involved in Indian football and they want to improve things. It could be amazing.
"I am not saying that India are going to win the World Cup any time soon but there will be a surge and they will get better.”