Despite suffering a catastrophic knee injury, Jason Culina remains one of western Sydney's finest products.
As Western Sydney Wanderers prepare for their Hyundai A-League debut, over the coming days we will look at some of the finest footballing talent to come out of Sydney-s western suburbs.
Think we-ve got the list wrong? Is there a player you think shouldn-t be mentioned or is there someone we-ve missed? Have your say below...
After suffering a catastrophic knee injury, Jason Culina might be the forgotten man of Australian football, but with his return imminent, that might be about to change.
In a recent interview with this website, Culina announced he expects to play early in the upcoming Hyundai A-League season.
“Whether it-s the first game of the season or the fifth, I-m not sure,” Culina said.
“I can-t put a timeframe on this sort of injury and recovery. You don-t see progress week-to-week; it-s more every couple of weeks, so if I was to say I-d be ready for the first game of the season - I wouldn-t put my money on it but I-d like to be there or thereabouts.”
Sydney FC are reported front-runners for his services, but if he returned to the west with Wanderers FC it would be a welcome return to where it all began with Sydney United, where he spent two season before heading to Europe and ultimately finding success in Holland with PSV Eindhoven.
While in the Netherlands, Culina helped PSV to three straight Eredivisie titles and his hard work and vision was noticed by his then club and Qantas Socceroos manager and sometime national hero Guus Hiddink.
Culina went on to play a major role for the national side, helping them to Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 as his star was on the rise - but then he made a move few expected... Announcing he would come home to Australia to play in the Hyundai A-League.
Miron Bleiberg has never muddied the waters when it came to his thoughts on signing Culina, admitting getting his marquee man was a huge part of the early success of Gold Coast United and Culina certainly didn-t disappoint, leading Gold Coast to the finals in their first two seasons, before announcing he was joining with his father Branko at Newcastle Jets.
Regardless of how that situation unravelled, there is little doubt over Culina-s talent and huge work ethic - the only question now is, after 18 months out of the game and with serious injuries behind him, can he return to his best?