Newcastle Jets speedster Mitch Austin said he is feeling the “fastest I’ve been” after producing a rapid top sprint time in a training session that would see the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi chasing his tail.
Austin hit a top speed of “just over 36 kilometres” per hour in a training session last week, just 12 months after suffering a serious knee injury that required a reconstruction.
And while Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale topped the stats with a reported 36.90 kilometres per hour, he was the only player above the 36 km/h mark.
Ronaldo came in seventh at a reported top speed of 33.60 km/h while Messi was ninth at a best of 32.50 km/h.
“On a Thursday, three days out from a game, we have quite a hard session,” Austin told a-league.com.au.
“We usually do a sprint block type thing.
“On the very last one, it’s pretty much open your legs out as quickly as you can, basically, and yeah, got up to just over 36 kilometres [per hour].
“Chris, the strength and conditioning coach, was pretty happy with that.
“I’ve hit 36 once before back in my Central Coast days.”
For Austin, who has played 51 Hyundai A-League games and scored nine goals, reaching such a speed was even more pleasing given the injury troubles he has faced over the past year.
“Coming back from my injury … the thing I was a bit scared about was not coming back as fast as I was,” the ex-Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory man said.
“But to clock that … was pretty pleasing.
“For me personally, coming back, I think just the mental side of tackles, turning and all that type of thing - it’s taken a lot longer than what I thought it would be [to get back to my best].
“But I think now I’m in a good spot. To be honest, I don’t really think about it [my injury] now.
“When I go out and train and play, it’s in the back of my mind [and not the front].
“Now I’m probably the fittest I’ve been and probably the fastest I’ve been.”
What good news that is for the Austin - a late substitute in Newcastle's 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar on Sunday - and the Jets.