With pre-season well and truly in full swing and the squad set to embark upon a Malaysian tour this week, we caught up with Alex Grant to see how he was getting on after a busy and productive off-season.
When he’s not winning headers or sliding in with crunching tackles, it seems the former ECU Joondalup junior has the gift of the gab.
“I had Josh Risdon’s wedding just before the World Cup and Chris Harold’s as well where I was on MC duties; it was brilliant," he said.
“It was amazing to see him [Risdon] a month later playing on the biggest stage in the world for the Socceroos. It was a real proud moment to see a mate I played alongside for years achieve that.”
But it wasn’t just MC duties that the 24-year-old was involved in; he was also a key member of a podcast team throughout the World Cup.
“A few mates and I started a podcast called Shooting Tsars that focused on the World Cup, which was loads of fun," he said.
“I’ve always been interested in doing one, so it was great to finally create something like that and analyse football in a light-hearted way with plenty of banter. We’re actually going to continue chatting nonsense with a Premier League podcast once the season begins. We've done a preview already, actually.”
After casting a particularly close eye upon events in Russia, Grant was buoyed by the number of Hyundai A-League players in the Socceroos squad.
“Seeing so many A-League boys there was huge and it definitely drives me to reach that," he said.
"I’d love to represent Australia at that level and I’m working hard and focusing on what I can control to make that happen.”
The former Stoke City man has been putting those words into action under Tony Popovic’s tutelage in recent weeks and insists that he's feeling better than he has in years.
“For me personally, I feel I’m on a better track now with this system," he revealed. "I definitely feel like I’m going forward in the right direction. I’m feeling fitter and stronger each week.
“I’m loving it; it’s been fantastic so far. The boss has come in and implemented everything he wants, but it’s mainly the little things, things that needed tweaking at the back to ensure we’re more of a unit and play with a tighter structure.
“Popovic’s attention to detail is second to none. I now find myself in games and training sessions focusing more on the little things that he’s pointed out, which has been really helpful and hopefully that converts to performances once the league starts.”
It’s not just the football development that’s pleased Grant, with the atmosphere and work ethic around the club tracking along nicely ahead of what promises to be a massive 2018/19 campaign.
“When we work, it’s serious and we do the work the right way with attention to detail," he said. "The boss has emphasised the point that we’re elite athletes, so we’re striving each day to train that way, as we should.
“But we’re obviously able to have a laugh and have that banter in the group. There’s a real buzz among the squad, but when we’re working, we’re focused 100% on the job at hand.”
Be sure to catch Grantie discussing all the major talking points from the Premier League by following the Shooting Tsars podcast on Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and iTunes.
You can also catch him in action during the new Hyundai A-League season by clicking HERE to become a Glory member.