Soccer-I always wanted to play for Perth, says ex-Liverpool keeper Jones


FILE PHOTO: Britain Football Soccer - Manchester United v Feyenoord - UEFA Europa League Group Stage - Group A - Old Trafford, Manchester, England - 24/11/16 Feyenoord's Brad Jones saves Reuters / Phil Noble /File Photo

(Reuters) - After a trophy-laden two-decade stint overseas, former Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones is returning to his native Western Australia to fulfil a career-long ambition when he runs out for Perth Glory.

Born and raised in the city's north-eastern suburbs, the 39-year-old has signed for the club he followed as a youth during Perth's first season in professional football in 1995.

A circuitous journey that started in 1999 and took him to England, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia was completed last month when he signed as a free agent for Richard Garcia's side.

Now Jones is relishing working under his former Socceroos team mate as Perth prepare to launch their challenge for the A-League title when the competition returns at the end of October.

"It's something that I always wanted to do was to play for Perth," said Jones. "As a kid growing up this was the first step that you looked to.

"I used to come and watch the games from the inaugural season and it was something that when the opportunity came I was interested in taking it.

"I know Richie as well from a long time ago, also being in the national team, so that was good, someone I was familiar with and that I knew I would be happy working with."

Jones brings trophy-winning experience with him to a Perth side that finished a disappointing ninth in the 12-team A-League set-up last year.

He picked up a pair of League Cup winners medals at Middlebrough and Liverpool while serving as understudy to Mark Schwarzer and Pepe Reina respectively before establishing himself as first choice goalkeeper with Feyenoord.

The goalkeeer played 32 times for the Rotterdam club as they won the Dutch title in the 2016/17 season before earning a Dutch Cup winners medal a year later.

Jones followed that with a move to Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr in 2018, where he helped the Riyadh-based side win the Saudi Professional League title for the first time in four years.

"Over the past few years I've selected where I've gone and I've been fortunate from my time at Liverpool...the club became successful and I wanted more of that," he said.

"But I wanted to be out there playing. My time in Holland was very successful and was something that was a massive step for me, to become the first keeper and also to achieve what we achieved.

"And Saudi was the same. I wasn't going there to play for anyone. I did my research and made sure the club was going to be challenging, and fortunately I managed to get some trophies there as well.

"I'm looking for the same thing here. From what I've seen it's positive, but we've got to work and I need to be able to put my experiences to the boys and try to help them as well."

While the lure of home was strong, Jones insists the move to Perth Glory is not purely a sentimental one.

"I wasn't interested in going just anywhere and working with just anyone," he said.

"It had to be the right move for me and this appealed to me. Working with these people and this group was a massive pull."

(Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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