Support from family and friends along with an encouraging text from Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou has injured Corey Gameiro confident he'll get back to playing at his peak following a serious knee injury.
The Sydney FC striker is in the early stages of rehab after undergoing surgery a fortnight ago on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament suffered on Olyroos duty in China last month.
In career-best form at the time, Gameiro initially took the setback hard as he came to terms with a year out of the game and the long road of recovery ahead.
But the backing of his local community and all sections of the ‘football family’ quickly lifted the 21-year-old’s spirits and have given him the drive to make the most of a tough situation.
‘‘When I was flying back on a 14-hour plane trip from China I was worried about how lonely the next nine months would be,” Gameiro told the Illawarra Mercury.
“But the support I have had from people around Wollongong and around the football community has been more than I would have ever expected.
‘‘It is greatly appreciated from me, and my family have been grateful to see it too.’’
Gamiero was in a rich vein of form for the Sky Blues before his lucked turned, scoring freely during pre-season as well as grabbing two goals in the Hyundai A-League in the opening two rounds.
It had him mooted as a potential bolter for Ange Postecoglou’s AFC Asian Cup squad and while that dream won’t eventuate in January, Gameiro believes he can get back to his best quickly.
‘‘I am confident I will get back to the level I was because of the faith that (Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold) has shown me,’’ Gameiro said.
‘‘When I went away with the Olyroos, Aurelio Vidmar made me captain of that little camp and really gave me more confidence and belief in myself.
‘‘Ange Postecoglou was nice enough to send me a text when he found out what happened. It gives me motivation to get back to where I was, knowing that when I get back to where I was, the doors will still be open for me.’’
The Sky Blues have endured horrible luck with knee injuries this season, with Ali Abbas and Nick Carle also sidelined for the rest of the season.
Sydney host Wellington Phoenix at Allianz Stadium on Sunday in a crucial game for both sides to keep in touch of the top three Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United.