It’s been a momentous month for Socceroos conditioning guru Andrew Clark.
One night he’s engulfed in the euphoria of the Socceroos' World Cup penalty shootout success against Peru - the next morning a bleary-eyed Clark is boarding a flight from Doha to Denmark to take over as head of sports science at Superliga champions FC Copenhagen.
AUSSIE CLARK'S DANISH DELIGHT
- Ex-Socceroos sports science chief Andrew Clark has been poached by Danish champions FC Copenhagan.
- Clark will spearhead the Lions' bid to become to boast the best conditioned players in the Superliga competition.
- He's about to hit the ground running with Copenhagen striving to qualify for Champions League group stage.
More Australian football news can be found on FTBL.
Having spent the last four years enhancing the Socceroos’ physical performance parameters with the zeal of a mechanic working under the hood of highly-tuned cars, Clark didn’t hesitate when the call came from the Lions’ sporting director Peter Christiansen.
He might yet be ‘loaned’ back to Australia for November-December’s World Cup in Qatar. But, for now, Clark - who in 2019 turned down the chance to join AGF Aarhus as head of conditioning - is focused on gearing up Copenhagen’s squad for looming UEFA Champions League qualifiers.
After over a decade working alongside Graham Arnold at Central Coast, Sydney FC, the Olyroos and Socceroos, Clark was ready to join Australia’s overseas football brain drain.
Already up and running in the Danish capital in a move facilitated by prominent Australian agent Buddy Farah, the ex-Mariners defender is relishing the return to club land.
“On multiple levels what an opportunity this is,” Clark told FTBL.
“Personally and professionally to move to a big club like this is a huge thing. It was very hard to resist.
“The Socceroos has been one hell of a journey which didn’t get any easier when Covid ripped the world apart and brought with it so much complexity and difficulty.
“It was taxing on all of us professionally and also for our families, but in the background there was always been that ambition to ultimately get back into club football working day today.
“It ticks so many boxes and I thought to myself ‘when is this chance going to come to me again'? I spoke to Arnie at length about it and he was totally supportive.”
Andrew Clark leading the team through stretches this morning. We return to Tahnoun Bin Mohammed Stadium this afternoon for training! #GoSocceroos #AsianCup2019 #TogetherAsOne pic.twitter.com/ODDr6poxxK— Socceroos (@Socceroos) January 13, 2019
Lauded for his recent one-on-one sessions with Aaron Mooy in Scotland which got the star midfielder up to speed for playoffs against UAE and Peru, Clark hasn’t ruled out a cameo return for the main event with Australia back in Doha in four months time.
“We haven’t had any formal discussions yet … I need to get everything perfect here first,” he added.
“Obviously it’s part of what I signed up for, to get to the World Cup and go to the World Cup.
“I’ve let the conversation rest but will get to that down the track. I have a job to do right here right now.
“We have Champions League qualifiers coming up and I have players coming back from international duty, so it’s full-on from day one.
“I will be overseeing all the physical performance structures at the club from sports science to sports medicine, very similar to my previous roles.
“You also hopefully will see better links in continuity between FC Copenhagen's first team and their world renowned Academy to make sure there’s a nice flow through to the first team.
“The senior squad have very high expectations and want to win everything domestically and consistently become Champions League participators.
“I need to find the key to unlock my brain again (and re-attune to club football). With the national team it’s really intense for 11 days or so and after that you’re totally spent.
“With club football it’s a different mindset and I’m settling in fast. We’re in the group phase of the the Europa League and we’re a two-legged play-off away away from qualifying for the Champions League.
“They’re doing a lot of good things with football in this country.”
And with Australia pitched against the Danes at the World Cup group stage for the second successive time, Clark is perfectly placed deep behind enemy lines to provide Arnold with insight and intel on the opposition.
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