James Jeggo has given us a taste of his new surroundings after embarking on his latest challenge with Aris Thessaloniki in Greece following a four-year stay in Austria.
Jeggo announced himself to the Aris faithful in the best way imaginable after putting his body on the line on multiple occasions to ensure that his new side came away with the three points in their season opener in the Greek Super League.
“We were 1-0 down, there was a mad scramble in the box and the ball was bouncing on the line. One of their strikers came to finish it and I tried to get my head on it and just managed to get there before him and got a knee in the head,” Jeggo told Socceroos.com.au.
“Luckily, they called it a foul and we managed to come back and win 3-1, so it was a good start for the team and set us on the way for this season.”
The move to Greece and the start of a new chapter with Aris has seen Jeggo embrace another new country and style of play which will further develop his skills.
“The individual quality of the players is really high. There are a lot of players who have played at a really high level throughout Europe and different type of player I’d come up against when I was in Austria,” Jeggo said.
“So far it’s been really good. The players I’ve been playing with will be able to bring a bit more out of me and I’ve really enjoyed the football side of things so far.”
His first move abroad forced him to nail down exactly which position his skills were best suited to after featuring in a host of midfield roles while playing in the Hyundai A-League.
“The league in Austria was very different to what I played in Australia and I think that’s the biggest thing, I found when I was coming over as a midfielder who could do a bit of everything, that I really needed to define what I’m good at and how I could effect games over here,” he said.
“That’s been the big thing for me and it came from purely coming out of my comfort zone and making the big move to Austria to a completely different style of football.
“I think that’s when I made my biggest development as a player and I think that’s why I’ve always been an advocate for stepping out of your comfort zone because I think that’s when you develop the most as a player.”
The new role he has taken on since moving to Europe was refined in Austria and has become one of the key things which has helped him develop into the player he is today.
“I’ve become someone who takes responsibility in the middle of the park, someone who organizes things and who makes sure that the team is functioning in the way that we’re set out to do,” he said.
“I think that’s been the thing that’s come out massively during my four years here in Europe.”
Only two games into his Aris career, Jeggo is already starting to see how his club as well as the standard of the Greek top flight will allow him to improve and push him to become a better player down the line.
“On the pitch we’ve got a lot of really good footballers. For me playing in that role in midfield to sort of organise things, doing a little bit more of the dirty work and get the ball to the players that can create things further up the pitch,” he said.
“I think the way I play suits what we already have here and this was a priority when I was making the move.
“I was making sure I was going somewhere, where I was able to play where it suits me best and I was able to develop.”
His decision to seek a new challenge in Greece has so far seemed to have paid dividends with the Socceroos midfielder having settled in well with his new club who currently sit top of the table after the first two rounds.
Jeggo will be in action for Aris Thessaloniki when they host PAS Giannina at 11pm* on Sunday.
*Time displayed is AEST