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David Carney


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DAVID Carney never met Johnny Warren, but if Australia's soccer legend was still around Carney would definitely shout him a beer.

Warren was the pioneer behind Australia's push into the Asian Football Confederation and Carney has perhaps benefited more than any other player with the switch from Oceania.

Sydney FC set the A-League alight in season one and aside from the usual suspects "the blond-haired kid with a sweet left foot" had announced himself in a big way.

But by the end of version II we were wondering whether Carney was another addition to the one-season wonder register.

Then a cyclone struck Sydney – Terry "let's turn this game into a battle" Butcher was sacked and replaced by attack-minded Branko Culina on the eve of the Asian Champions League.

"When I came back to the A-League I just wanted to get myself fit," Carney said. "I knew I had the ability but I didn't know how good I was until I got playing every week.

"Pierre was good for me in the first year and when Terry came in I had a bit of a down spell. Injuries didn't help, I was out for half a season but when I came back it wasn't my game. Then Branko came in and has really helped me."

Carney spent three years in Everton's youth system at the same time Wayne Rooney came through the ranks and broke into the reserves where he appeared 30 times. Stints at Oldham and Scotland preceded his A-League arrival.

It's been an incredible two years that has culminated in Carney rubbing shoulders with Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell in Singapore.

"I feel like the bigger the stage the better I perform, and to play with better players you become better because you're thinking alike," he said.

"Even when we have games at training with the starting 11, you can tell the difference and if you're around quality players you adapt and I'm sure this will make me a lot better player being here.

"Viduka's a class act and you rarely get someone like him and you might not get someone like him for a number of years."

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