Captain's knocks, new faces and match-winning braces: The A-League players who were the difference in Round 19
Round 19 was an interesting weekend of football with no draws, 19 goals in six matches, two five-goal games on Sunday and for the…
If I was to ask a fan of the A-League to say the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the name James Troisi, there would be a broad range of words.
Some would say he is controversial for his views on life, others would call him a mercenary for chasing money or even an enigma – for his mysterious demeanour on and off the pitch.
Perhaps the word to use is fortunate, as James Troisi will be joining the reigning A-League champions Western United on a one-year deal for season 2022-23.
It has been a career filled with many ups and downs since being plucked from Adelaide City by English premiership side Newcastle United as a talented 17-year-old.
Troisi never made a first-team appearance for United but found form in Turkey, before being bought in a 50 per cent split between Juventus and Atalanta.
His time in Italy was a disappointment and then followed by stopovers in Belgium, Saudi Arabia & China before coming back home to Australia after many years overseas.
Troisi’s first spell with the victory in 2013-14 was a success personally for the player, finding the back of the net a dozen times as well as contributing several assists – in a club season many would describe as the best in his career.
This was closely followed by scoring the winning goal for Australia, in the 2015 Asian Cup final against South Korea.
Troisi’s talent has never been in doubt, he is without a doubt one of the finest attacking midfielders of his generation – if only his attitude was able to match the magic he can produce with his boots.
Attitude can make or break a footballer and Troisi’s attitude, or lack thereof, has caused issues over the course of his career.
Training ground bust-ups with teammates, as well as coaches, have been commonplace with accusations about his level of commitment in relation to wanting to change clubs regularly, purely for financial gain.
Then there has been the drama in recent years associated with his time at Adelaide United and the Western Sydney Wanderers.
A return home to the city of his birth, Adelaide in 2019 looked a dream come true – however it ended unceremoniously with a public spat that also involved the player’s father, which was the talk of Australian football circles at the time.
In the past season with the Western Sydney Wanderers he was known more for his controversial social media views on the vaccine mandate then actually playing football.
Entering the last phase of his football career, Troisi still has the weapons to hurt teams – his wand of a left foot is capable of opening up defences, while also being a threat with set-piece delivery and a knack of being in the right positions to try and get a shot on goal.
But at 34 years old the move to the champions Western United, seems odd on paper.
United coach John Aloisi assembled the oldest squad in the competition last season, that included revamping multiple ageing stars in having an Indian summer in terms of their performance.
How Aloisi integrates Troisi into his settled squad, playing a type of football that might not get the best out of his mercurial new attacking midfielder’s abilities could be one of the most interesting sideshows to watch in season 22-23.
Even in his advancing years, Troisi still has the brashness and sharp tongue to take shots at other clubs he’s played for in the A-League – with a backhanded quote from his unveiling at Western United.
“The professionalism from day one has been far superior to any other club that I’ve dealt with in Australian football, definitely a benchmark for all clubs,” the ex-Socceroo said.
Troisi has always blurred the lines between confidence and arrogance, add to this his controversial views – and it’s the equivalent of dumping more gasoline on an already raging inferno.
The last thing Western United needs is to keep putting out fires from the combustible James Troisi, especially as they target back-to-back championships.