Socceroos forward Andrew Nabbout has returned to Melbourne Victory older, wiser and with the tools to complete some unfinished business with the A-League giants.
Nabbout, a Melbourne local and a product of Victory’s youth system, confirmed his move home last week when the club announced he had joined fellow Socceroo Robbie Kruse in Marco Kurz’s new-look squad.
The versatile forward made 46 appearances across all competitions for Victory between 2012 and 2015 before he was released.
Stints with Malaysian club Negeri Sembilan, A-League rivals the Newcastle Jets and Japanese giants Urawa Red Diamonds followed.
Nabbout, who will wear the No.9 shirt, was unable to find his best form in Japan, due mainly to injury, but arrives in Melbourne fit and with a point to prove.
“I was a little bit raw when I left here,” Nabbout told reporters on Wednesday.
“It’s always tough as a young player to get told that you’re not wanted at a club, but it’s all business.
“I’m much better for it. I was much stronger mentally. I went … came back and feel like there’s a bit of unfinished business.
“It’s an exciting time for the club.”
Nabbout made just 16 appearances for Urawa for one goal and had surgery on a shoulder he dislocated twice last year, but feels he is a better player for his time in the J-League.
But perhaps the most important experience Nabbout gained in his time away from Victory was his taste of World Cup action with Bert van Marwijk’s Socceroos in Russia last year.
His campaign was cut short by a shoulder injury but he craves a return to that big stage and feels his move back to the A-League will help him in that regard.
“I chatted with (Socceroos coach Graham Arnold) a couple of times over the past few weeks to explain why I wasn’t playing (in Japan),” he said.
“He wants us to play, he wants us to be getting game time no matter where it is.
“A lot of people have been asking me if this is a step backwards (going from Japan to the A-League) but I consider it a step forward because I’m going to be getting game time.”
Nabbout, who is expecting his first child with his partner in November, is in full training with Victory and ready to play in next week’s FFA Cup clash with the Newcastle Jets.