Stefan Mauk admits he feels soured by his experiences in Holland, but is determined to prove himself in his second-stint with Melbourne City this season.
Mauk is on a season-loan deal with City and has so far started in all six games this season.
He played just two games with Dutch side NEC Nijmegen who were relegated to the Eerste Divisie last season.
Speaking at the Nike Fire v Ice Pack event at AAMI Park, Mauk was unsure as to why he did not play more games in Holland, however, he had nothing bad to say about the club.
Nijmegen’s manager Peter Hyballa was sacked in April for their poor performances.
“I think it was a bit of a pride thing, you always want to go and do well, but the coach for whatever reason didn’t want to play me,” Mauk told FourFourTwo at the Nike event.
“It’s hard to look at the experience in a positive way when you’re not playing and you move halfway across the world to better your career. I tried as much as possible to be positive otherwise I wasn’t going to be in the right headspace.
“It was down to a little bit of bad fortune with the coach who signed me and everything he did was the opposite of what he said when I got there.
“That’s football, I think you just got to take the good with the bad and make the best of every situation. It’s never good to have a negative experience, but I think it’s good to have that earlier on in your career to know how to deal with it next time it does come up.
“If I want to go back overseas, there’s probably going to be times like that again. I just need to know how to deal with it better and I guess that’s what I’ve tried to make of the situation.”
Mauk said he was playing it by ear on whether he would return to the club after his loan deal is finished.
He felt the A-League’s quality was on par with some divisions in Europe and felt Australian football fans can sometimes be too negative about the game.
“I think it’s just the mentality that a lot of Australians have and the ones that like to watch European football think the standard is good in every European league,” he said.
“OK, if you’re watching the Premier League, Bundesliga or La Liga, yes, it’s unbelievable, but they have the best clubs in the world.
“A lot of the other leagues in Europe would be on par with the A-league. From my time in Holland, I’d say the good teams in the A-League would do extremely well in that competition.
“They’re probably not going to beat the likes of Feyenoord and Ajax, but their budgets are probably four or five times bigger. I think the A-League teams would actually do well over there. It goes to show the standard is quite good here.”
Nike handpicked some young footballers to debut the new Fire v Ice Pack in Melbourne last week as Mauk, along with Nick Fitzgerald and Luke Brattan, were watching the game as it finished 5-0 to Fire.
The youngsters played in front of Melbourne City’s A-League coach Warren Joyce and W-League coach Patrick Kisnorbo before the two clubs went head-to-head on Sunday night.
Mauk praised Nike for giving the youngsters the chance to play in a world class stadium.
“It was a good night, I was happy to come down and have a look,” he said. “For them it’s probably the first and only time they’ll play at AAMI Park and good opportunity to showcase themselves and be in a professional set-up.
“I don’t know any of the players personally, but I went to have a chat to them before and they’ve got Warren and PK (Kisnorbo) as their coaches who are good mentors.”
Check out the Nike Fire & Ice packs at Nike.com/Football