Wanderers assistant coach Ante Milicic says he will miss working at a place he loves but couldn’t turn down an opportunity to broaden his career with the Socceroos.
On Tuesday, Milicic was announced as assistant coach to Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou for the next three years, an honour that will include this year’s FIFA World Cup.
“I’m very proud to be given the opportunity to join the national team setup with Ange, it’s something that every coach and player aspires to, so I feel very grateful,” the 39-year-old told the Weekender.
“I got a call from Ange about six weeks ago asking of the interest to be part of the Socceroos setup. When you get a call like that it was sudden and surprising but it was one we had a few discussions about and obviously I had to accept.”
Milicic, who’s also been an assistant at the Melbourne Heart as well as the Wanderers, said he’ll miss working with his partner in crime, Tony Popovic, who has seen him every day for the better part of two years.
“I spoke a lot with Popa about the decision, we are close on and off the field, but you’ve got to take the opportunity when your country calls,” he said.
“I’m very happy here at the Wanderers, and that was the hardest part ,that I’m actually enjoying my work here. It’s not easy to leave a place you love.”
Popovic said he was sad to lose his offsider but credited him as a major part in the Wanderers’ success to date.
“Our relationship is excellent, we work very closely together and I rely on him a lot,” he said.
“Of course the big picture for him is the Socceroos but I know Ante very well and he wants to finish this season on a high before he moves on.”
Wanderers star Labinot Haliti said Milicic has had a huge impact on his career over the years.
“I’ve known Ante for a long time, I’ve played with him and now coached under him,” he said.