New Melbourne Victory second-choice goalkeeper Matthew Acton prayed for his phone to ring in Brisbane after coming back from Filipino United Football League side Kaya.
Acton made his Victory debut in Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Newcastle Jets at home stepping in for Lawrence Thomas (broken finger).
He was signed as a replacement for Alastair Bray who will be sidelined for four months with a shoulder injury.
The 24-year-old was bold to say he would play anywhere so long as it involved game time after a season in the Philippines with Myanmar’s Yangon United.
He made just two appearances for former club Brisbane Roar from 2013 – 2014.
“I didn’t want to go back to the Philippines, I spoke to the club at the end of the season and told them I wouldn’t be coming back,” Acton said.
“It was just a matter of waiting for the next opportunity and grateful it’s at Melbourne Victory.
“I came home back to Brisbane and went on holiday with my wife and from there I was just training on my own really waiting and praying the phone would ring and it did when Victory gave me a call.
“I didn’t get much of an opportunity there (at Roar) so some might see it as a weird move, but I went there in the mindset of playing many games as I could and I did that.
“This year alone I played 30 games and had my 31st on the weekend, I did it for the exercise to play games and that’s what I did, I’m very happy I made the decision to go over there to the Philippines.”
Acton trialled with Victory in August but did not make the final cut.
He played his last game for Kaya on October 15 and felt he had grown after maximising his potential in Asia.
“I’ve felt the disappointment of having to leave the A-League, but in the same token it gave me a great opportunity to go to Myanmar, Philippines, so I’ve experienced a lot as a footballer,” he said.
YUFC #26 pic.twitter.com/dDsXq8Of9e— Matthew Acton (@MatthewActon1) June 3, 2014
“I’m still very young so I guess this time around I want to knuckle down and try stay in Australia for the next couple of years as long as I can.
“I’m willing to go anywhere where I’m given an opportunity, that’s what I’m looking for, an opportunity and at the moment that’s at the Victory.
“(Debut for Victory) was a great feeling, it’s always good to get your debut for a new club and to get a clean sheet as well on your debut it was a fantastic result, I guess for myself and also for the team.”
Following the Jets win, Victory coach Kevin Muscat indicated Thomas would most likely return as first-choice glovesman for Friday night’s game against Perth Glory.
Acton has experience training with Thomas in the Young Socceroos and spoke of their close relationship.
“I’ve tasted being a No.1 now in Myanmar and the Philippines, so definitely craving being the No.1 goalkeeper that’s for sure,” he said.
“I think no goalkeeper aspires to sit on the bench, it’s about wanting to be playing out there with the boys, so I’m no different.
“Lawrence trained this morning, so that’s out of my hands, I came here not expecting to play straight away anyway, so whatever they decide to do, if Lawz is back playing then I’ll support him 100 per cent.
“He supported me 100 per cent, gave me pointers here and there, we have a great relationship, I’m there to support him and he was great for me on the weekend as well.”
Photo: Anita Milas