Nick Ward has vowed to bounce back following the set-back that he wouldn`t be included in Graham Arnold`s Olympic Squad.
Ward spent time in England with Queens Park Rangers after joining from Perth Glory in the summer of 2006. He joined Rangers under a wave of optimism during the Gary Waddock era, but after a string of poor team performances Waddock was fired, and Ward`s hopes went with him.
With John Gregory taking over, the ideas were different and the style of play changed and Ward`s appearances in a Rangers shirt became few and far between. Barely a year after signing Ward returned back to Australia with his tail between his legs, signing for Melbourne Victory.
This latest set-back had the Olyroo in tatters, as he contemplated quitting the game altogether:
‘I was there for the entire qualification campaign and it was gutting not to be picked after a three-year process,’ said the 23-year-old who first sprung to prominence with Perth Glory.” Ward told the Australia basedSBS.
‘It took a while to pull myself back together – I didn`t even want to go to training, the motivation to play just wasn`t there.’
‘It was a massive down for me. For four or five days I just kept to myself, turned my phone off and only really talked to my family.’
After competing in some of the qualifying games for the Olympics, Ward felt that a place may have been forthcoming due to his contribution, and he hit out at Australia boss Graham Arnold for his methods in selection:
‘I felt I played a part in getting us there and it was tough not be recognised for that.’
‘I think the boss (Arnold) dragged out the selection process big time. He knows all of us and a decision could have been made a lot sooner.’
Ward was confident despite some set-backs that he would be granted the chance to prove himself on one of the biggest sporting stages in the world, however this dream never came to fruition, to the Olyroo`s surprise:
‘I missed a couple of camps (through injury first and then Asian Champions League commitments) and when I returned to join the squad (for camps in the Central Coast and then Darwin) I felt on the outer. I`d gone from being a starting player to being a bit on the fringes.’
‘But I was still confident I would make the side. I`d got on top of a groin injury, passed all the beep tests but it just wasn`t good enough. I’m now going to make sure I gave a good season and show Graham Arnold he was wrong not to pick me.’
With Mark Bosnich once again linking up with the A-League, and returning home along with Ward, the Ex-Rangers midfielder reminisced about his time with Bosnich in W12:
‘He`s one of the best shot stoppers out there. I don`t see why anybody wouldn`t want to sign him.”
“We used to hang out together in London and he`s one of the greatest characters football has known. The game has given him something to live for again. He was in bad shape and now his love for football has brought him back.’
The Perth born midfielder made 23 appearances for QPR scoring 1 goal against Southend United, as well as laying on a memorable assist for Ray Jones in a last minute winner away at Cardiff City.
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