RILEY Warland was only 16 when Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri plucked the defender from the under-18s to train with the first team.
"It was around Christmas time and I went up and enjoyed it," Warland said. "Training alongside the likes of [German international] Andre Schrrle ... I did well and got invited back."
Warland spent a year at Fulham before getting homesick and returning to Perth.
Though happy for the opportunity at Craven Cottage, the Jets recruit was quick to point out that what happened in the past means nothing now.
After two seasons at his home-town club where he made five A-League appearances, Warland is desperate to kickstart his career and believes Newcastle is the ideal environment.
"Going away to the UK, it was a great opportunity to see where I was at in my own age group," he said. "This is where I am focused now.
"I got a call from the boss (Jets coach Arthur Papas) asking what I wanted to do. I was in a bit of a pickle back at home. All I wanted to do is play football and he said I can give you the chance to play.
"He was really good to talk to and it was quite an easy choice to come here."
Warland,19, is part of a new rearguard at the Jets after the departure of senior duo Nigel Boogaard (retired) and Nikolai Topor-Stanley (released) and long-term back-up Lachy Jackson, who is now starting for Suwon in the K-League.
He is joined by fringe Socceroo Matt Jurman and Adelaide regular Jordan Elsey. Jurman started training on Tuesday and Elsey is due to arrive next week.
"I had a little taste of it (the A-League) and am hungry for more," Warland said. "The boss has done really well in recruiting who we needed to. There are great players around me like Matt Jurman. The amount of games that he has played and where he has played in the world, he has a lot of experience.
"When you step over the white line onto the pitch, I think everybody is equal. I will give 100 per cent every day and give them no reason to not pick me.
"I am quite a young player but I do aspire to help everyone around me. A lot of communication being a defender, being strong on the ball and being a good leader on the pitch."
Warland has been accompanied to Newcastle by his girlfriend and they have settled in Hamilton.
"Newcastle is a great place to be," he said. "It is very similar to Perth in a lot of ways. I have found settling here very easy. Everyone has been really welcoming."
While ripping in to pre-season training, Warland has been keeping a close eye on the Olyroos' progress in Tokyo and admitted that Paris 2024 was goal.
"It does motivate me seeing former teammates and boys who I played against in the season just gone, doing well," he said. "It definitely gives me motivation. It is something I aspire to do later in my career."
Warland is a among a host of players hoping to kickstart their careers with Newcastle.
Former Socceroos striker Eli Babalj has been training since the start of pre-season.
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