Socceroos star has no regrets over snubbing China move
FOOTBALL: Jackson Irvine could be living the dream in cashed-up China but the Socceroos midfielder says he is happy to be plying his trade with unfashionable English Championship side Burton Albion.
Irvine, 24, said yesterday he was offered a sizeable contract to move to the Chinese Super League but wanted to pursue his dream of playing in the English Premier League or German Bundesliga.
"It was a very substantial offer - more like 20 times my current salary - and it came from a team in the Chinese Super League, it came quite late in the January window," Irvine said ahead of tomorrow's crucial World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia at the Adelaide Oval.
"It's a complicated situation when you get that phone call. I rejected three offers from this club in the same window.
"But it was nothing to do with my own personal pride. I didn't view it as the right career move for me at this time.
"The season had gone the way it had with Burton, I was getting more involved with the national team. I have never been money motivated and I am fortunate enough to come from a background where that has never been of vital importance to me.
"Everyone's individual circumstances are different but I didn't view it as the right move for myself. I have a dream to play at the highest level, whether it's the EPL, the Bundesliga.
"It's not an easy decision, as you can probably imagine when you are faced with it, but it's probably the best 'worst' situation you could have."
Irvine got the call from coach Ange Postecoglou for the two World Cup qualifiers in March.
He opened his Socceroos goalscoring account in the win over the United Arab Emirates in Sydney and said he had become more of a goal threat after Burton manager Nigel Clough and club coaches changed the way he played.
"They tweaked my position in that way to push me a little more advanced and I never really saw myself as much of a goal threat," Irvine said.
"I didn't see that as being my main contribution to the team but it turned out that way."
Irvine, who also played for Scottish side Ross County before moving to England, said he would not have changed how his career had panned out.
"I think a lot of people saw it as a bit of a gamble, as much as my move to Ross County before that - people probably saw it in that way as well," he said.
"Probably not the most glamorous moves and clubs that people haven't heard a lot about but these clubs have done absolute wonders for me, and they've definitely pushed my career forward so much and playing regularly games.
"I think I've played 100 games in two seasons now - and that's been so vital for my development."