Craig Noone last week re-joined the squad in pre-season training after undergoing his mandatory two weeks of quarantine.
Following the end of last season, Noone had returned to his home country of England but is now back in Melbourne and back in full training with the squad. He said the experience of being in quarantine had been challenging mentally at times, but he was very grateful to have his fiancée by his side.
“I had a program that I was sent, and I was also fortunate to have a treadmill and bike so it certainly kept me busy," Noone said.
Although he missed the first three weeks of pre-season training, Noone said he was well aware of how challenging the training had been and how hard his fellow teammates were working.
"I'd say this pre-season has probably been a little more demanding and intense than last season,” he said, “I know the lads have all been working hard as well and my first few days have been pretty intense.”
This will be Noone’s second season at the Club and the English winger said that while his first season didn’t end the way he would’ve liked, there was still plenty of positives to come from it.
"The players spoke in the dressing room after the Grand Final which was tough to take,” he said, “We came so far and it was still a successful season but ultimately to fall short at the final hurdle was hard to take and I think that will only make us stronger."
Last season Noone scored five goals and provided eight assists in 27 A-League games and also scored a double in the FFA Cup Semi-Final against the Wanderers. He said one of his big focusses this year is to help the team by increasing those numbers.
“Personally, to score more and assist more would be great,” he said, “It would be good to try in chip in more that way.”
Noone played over 250 Championship games in England and he said that another of his big goals this season was to help out his younger teammates and draw on his experience to have a positive impact on the squad.
“I want to make sure I have an influence on the dressing room, being an experienced player it's really important for me to do that," Noone said.
This season Noone will be working closely with new signing Andrew Nabbout who will line up on the opposite wing. Along with Nabbout’s Socceroo teammate Jamie Maclaren, it shapes up to be a formidable front three.
While this may be the talk outside the dressing room, Noone isn’t buying into all of the hype and is instead focussed on the team as a whole performing.
“It's a good front three but it's not just about us three, we've got some really good young players too,” he said, “The young lad (Marco) Tilio is a great up and coming player so it's going to be interesting to see how we all go together as a team.”
“I think we can all play our part."
With Patrick Kisnorbo now taking full charge of the squad as head coach, Noone said that City fans could expect a few changes on the pitch but nothing too major.
“You'll see us be a lot more intense and aggressive which the coach is trying to influence now in pre-season,” Noone said, “I think football-wise, you'll see a lot of the City style of football and it will be similar to the way we played last year."
The 2020/21 A-League season kicks off on December 27, stay tuned in the coming weeks for fixture information!