x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pro League: Bruno Metsu factor helps sway Lucas Neill

Lucas Neill says he was surprised at Al Jazira's lack of interest in retaining him but was happy to land with Al Wasl due to Bruno Metsu.

Lucas Neill says moving to Al Wasl was made an easy decision because of Bruno Metsu being in charge of the Dubai club.
Lucas Neill says moving to Al Wasl was made an easy decision because of Bruno Metsu being in charge of the Dubai club.

Lucas Neill, Al Wasl's Australian defender, has revealed he chose to ignore interest from Europe to sign for the Dubai club in the hope he can play on until the 2015 Asian Cup.

Writing on his personal website, lucasneill.com, the former Blackburn Rovers, Galatasaray and Al Jazira man said: "I was tempted to go back to Europe as enquiries about my services were made, but my preferred choice was to stay in this region.

"There is no secret that my goal is to play on until the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Asian Cup, and this contract fits in well with that plan.

"When deciding on my future I had to take into consideration the workload on my body but remain in a league that still challenged me. "

Neill revealed he was swayed by his respect for Wasl's new manager, the former UAE coach Bruno Metsu.

"Having had a year here already, and being challenged, it was an easy decision made easier by the chance to play for Bruno Metsu," he said.

"[He is] a manager I have bundles of respect for manufactured as a result of many head to heads against him during his time as the Qatar national team coach.

"He has a phenomenal record in this region, which speaks volumes for him as a coach, and because of his track record and understanding of the league and its players I know he will get the most out of this team.

Neill said he was disappointed to be shown the door at Jazira after just one season in Abu Dhabi

"Leaving Jazira was a strange one," he wrote.

"I genuinely felt I had given my all for the team but the management decided they wanted to fill the Asian spot with a midfielder. That's football and I respect them for that.

"So now I focus my energy on a successful year with Al Wasl and look forward to playing my old teammates ... and hopefully getting the better of them."

Neill joined the Argentine midfield pair of Mariano Donda and Juan Ignacio Mercier as Wasl's foreign contingent, with the Australian qualifying as the one allowed Asian player.

Wasl can sign one more foreigner and Neill hinted that it could be a big-name arrival.

"As I write this the club is putting the finishing touches on a foreign striker signing," he wrote.

"If we land any of the three that have been named then we will be a big threat in front of goal."

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