Excited Milos Degenek urges his Socceroos teammates to fight for their lives in must-win World Cup match against Tunisia: ‘There’s bread on the table… we HAVE to take it’
Milos Degenek has revealed how he inspires his Socceroos teammates ahead of their crucial World Cup match against Tunisia.
The 28-year-old came off the bench in Australia’s 4-1 defeat to France on Wednesday morning and made his World Cup debut capping a fairytale journey that began as an 18-month-old baby fleeing war-torn Croatia for Australia.
One of the more experienced members of Graham Arnold’s squad, Degenek acts as a mentor to younger players during their time in Qatar, sharing his mentality during their mammoth game on Saturday night.
Milos Degenek has urged the Socceroos to fight for their lives against Tunisia on Saturday
“The lion mentality is, eat or be eaten, and that’s the simplest way to put it,” Degenek said via Fox Sports. “I used this term for the game in Peru with the boys, I said ‘there is bread on the table’.
‘Or we eat tonight; my children, my wife and my family have dinner tonight, or they eat and my children go home hungry to sleep and so does my wife – and I don’t want that to happen. I use that term, and when the bread is on the table, I want to grab it and keep my kids and my wife happy.
‘.. I’ve tried to instill (the mindset) in the younger players, especially the ones who are new here and who are constantly asking for advice every day.
“I don’t have to say things like that to Matty Ryan or Aaron Mooy or Matty Leckie. They have their own ways. But most of the other guys know what I’m talking about and they understand where I’m coming from.’
Degenek shared how his difficult early days in building a career played a major role in his resilient mindset.
“It (the lion mentality) is something I’ve developed throughout my career. I was very young when I moved to Germany as a 16-year-old, and my first experience was being dropped in the middle of Germany, in Stuttgart, and taking an hour and a half to train in the middle of a freezing winter,” he added.
The Socceroos lost 4-1 to France in their opening game at the World Cup
It means the Tunisian clash must be won and Degenek has instilled his resilient mentality
“It’s minus 8, and it’s like two pairs of sweatpants and four pairs of sweaters because I didn’t have enough money to buy a winter coat – until my agent gave me one.
“There I learned my first struggles from people who thought ‘oh, you go to Europe, you enjoy football, you become a professional and you make a lot of money’.
“My first professional contract was $1,000 a month. I wasn’t making big money and that’s where I learned the struggles and got that mindset and thought to myself, ‘I’m training with another 20 guys, but I want to be the one who’s going to make it.’
“I can say that I am lucky to be one of those who made it. There are others in that group who have also made it, one of them being a guy named Kimmy (Germany and Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich) who isn’t bad. I learned a lot from him, even though he is younger. It’s something that stays with me.’