With the Socceroos World Cup squad recently announced, there were a few names that really stood out and one in particular for Glory winger Joel Chianese.
Having experienced a rollercoaster stint alongside Andrew Nabbout in the Malaysian Premier League with Negeri Sembilan, Chianese is over the moon for his former teammate and close friend.
"I'm just so stoked for him," he said.
"It's amazing to see the change from two years ago in Malaysia to see him in the Socceroos squad for the World Cup in Russia now."
The pair enjoyed a prolific time with Negeri during the 2016 season, with Chianese scoring 10 goals in 15 games and Nabbout netting eight times in just 12 matches. The players, alongside fellow Aussie's Taylor Regan and Alex Smith were enjoying life in Malaysia, but it all came to a crashing halt.
"We were both in form scoring goals and we were second on the table, then the transfer window opened and it was really strange how things ended.
"We were in Australia visiting family during the Ramadan break where they have six weeks off from games, then we got an e-mail from the Director saying they were looking to release Andrew (Nabbout) and I immediately, it was a real shock for us."
The duo bounced back by securing a return to the Hyundai A-League following their departure from The Jangs, with Joel heading West and Nabbout heading to the Hunter Valley with the Newcastle Jets as they looked to get their careers back on track.
"It was a great decision to return to Australia, but it was tough for both of us in the aftermath of the club's decision to let us go. It was a big confidence knock because we'd been doing so well.
"Andrew's a massive confidence player and I think his move back to the A-League was perfect for him. He's now full of confidence after a fantastic season at Newcastle, his form just got better and better and he fully deserves the move to the J-League with Urawa Red Diamonds. I really think he can make an impact for the Socceroos, he never stops working and always creates chances."
Chianese has also made an impact upon returning to Australia despite his injuries, playing a key role in the latter half of the season for Glory in the previous two campaigns scoring four goals and providing a number of crucial assists along the way.
The 28-year-old can't wait to get back on the training track in preparation for the upcoming season and is really looking forward to the chance to play under new Head Coach Tony Popovic.
"I'm really excited about Popovic coming in. I think there is a real sense of excitement from all the player and also the fans as well.
"Personally, I'm keen to have a solid pre-season, make sure I'm fit and firing then hopefully impress to cement myself in the starting 11 from the get-go."
Joel Chianese's World Cup Predictions
How will the Socceroos fair?
If they can make it out of the group stages it'd be massive, I'd love to see us in the Round of 16, that should be the goal for the squad and would help set a great platform for the years to come. They've got a tough group, but I think they can make it out.
Who will win the World Cup?
Which country will cause an upset?
I know they're in our group, but I think the Danes could cause some serious issues for teams.