Recently re-signed Brisbane Roar fullback Shane Stefanutto has stated he had no plans of retirement prior to penning a one-year extension with the club earlier this month and that he won’t surrender his starting spot in the team.
Despite being Roar’s oldest player, and missing ten games this season with a persistent hamstring injury, the 34 year old Stefanutto said he was still enjoying his football and dismissed suggestions he had entertained thoughts of retirement.
“That was a rumour that I was retiring, I never confirmed that, did I?” a clearly pleased Stefanutto joked with media following Tuesday morning training.
“I love this club, I love the football we’re playing at the moment and I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed my football more.
“I’m really chuffed I’m going to be around at least another 18 months,” Stefanutto said before adding tongue-in-cheek: “And no, I’m not going to be retiring after that.”
While Australian youth representative Corey Brown is heir apparent for Stefanutto’s role in the side, the seasoned veteran was adamant he still had much to offer the Roar this season and beyond, saying he will “fight for his position”.
“Make no mistake, I don’t just expect to walk up and get the jersey every week,” he explained.
“The day Mike (Mulvey) came in he said he wanted two players in every position, and obviously whether I’m number one or two in the left back position, I believe I can still contribute to what the club is doing and what the team is doing.”
Stefanutto said he will be content contributing as a squad player if that was the role that best suited the team.
“If I am number one or two, I will be working as hard as ever every day to contribute to this club and this side as much as I can in whatever role I am needed to.”
Despite his battle with injury in the early part of the current campaign, Stefanutto said he was confident the body would hold up for another season.
“I know I have to work hard, I’ve come back in great shape this pre-season and I intend to next pre-season,” he explained.
“I work hard every day and my performances will dictate whether I’m in the side or not.”
“I’m very comfortable with that and I have belief in my ability,” he concluded.