Often when an Australian player has success at a club it can have residual effects for other Australians with that club or clubs in the respective league looking to unearth another hidden gem from the same shores. Manly United junior James Georgaklis could be the latest beneficiary of the success enjoyed by a current Socceroo. The holding midfielder has followed in the footsteps of fellow New South Welshman, Massimo Luongo by joining Swindon Town’s academy.
“The move to Swindon came about from someone watching me play for Manly Under 18s,” Georgaklis told Football Central.
“I felt I was playing really well. He then pulled me aside after the game, spoke to me and my dad and it was just emails back and forth to organise the trials.”
The transition from the northern beaches to Swindon has been ‘excellent’ according to the player, with all the players and coaching staff doing what they can for the new arrival. He even had a chance to meet the man who blazed a trail for him.
“I met Massimo over the Christmas holidays and we spoke quite a bit while I was with the first team a few times,” revealed Georgaklis.
“He definitely made it easier for me as he gave me advice on what coaches would be looking for and just overall boosted my confidence by telling me I’ll be fine and telling me I’m at a club which develops young players which is what I need for my future.”
The Arsenal and Xabi Alonso fan started out playing in the park with his friends when his father noticed his potential. It was then he was taken along to some football academies and what started off as a bit of fun became a more serious pursuit.
“Both my parents but especially my dad definitely helped me become the player I am today.”
The soon-to-be seventeen year old says he benefited from his time at Manly where they put their faith in the midfielder by putting him up three years to play in the U18s. This experience of playing in the older age group has helped him to face the challenge of joing a professional set up at the League One club.
“The difference compared to my experience in Australia is I feel the quality here in Swindon is a lot higher,” said the player with a Greek and Australian passport.
“A lot more technical and also physically challenging because we train basically everyday and sometimes twice a day.
“Professionalism on and off the field is very different and more serious due to Swindon being a big club and always in the public eye knowing we are from Swindon Town FC.”
The United Kingdom continues to be a popular destination for Australian footballers and the success of the likes of Luongo, Rogic and Jedinak will only see this trend continue. For James this step into the professional world of football could see him some day helping the next generation to get a start abroad.