At 16, Riley Warland was training with Fulham’s first team and rubbing shoulders with elite Premier League footballers.
The chance to head over to England and link up with Fulham’s academy system was a huge opportunity for the defender.
During his time with the London based side, Warland was able to measure up with some of Fulham’s brightest prospects.
He featured for Fulham in the U18 Premier League and trained with the Club’s first team on multiple occasions.
“To be able to train with such top players like Andre Schürrle and Harvey Elliot made it really a great experience,” Warland said.
The move from Australia did come with its challenges and the youngster found it difficult to adapt to his surroundings.
“I think I just got a little bit too homesick,” Warland said.
“It is very different over there especially with the weather.”
After a year in west London, Warland would return to Australia and sign with Perth Glory.
Opportunities were limited in Perth and the moment Warland received the call from Jets Manager Arthur Papas, the youngster knew he had to make the move to Newcastle.
“All I wanted to do was play football and he said to me that he could give me a chance,” Warland said.
“It really became an easy choice to come here.”
The transition from the west coast to the east coast of Australia is a welcomed change for Warland.
He believes the switch is exactly what he needs in this stage of his career.
“Newcastle is a great place to be and is similar to Perth in a lot of ways,” he said.
“I’ve found settling here really easy.”
The focus now turns to the season ahead and giving Papas a selection headache when it comes to choosing his backline.
“The boss has done really well in recruiting top players,” Warland said.
“I’ve got to give myself the best chance.
“I’ve got to try and give the boss no reasons to not pick me.”
Part of his development is establishing himself as a leader.
While he’s just 19, the centre-back is eager to make a name for himself in the A-League.
“Getting older as a player you want to progress more and more,” he said.
“I’ve done a lot a young age but that doesn’t mean anything for me.
“The next step in my career can go anywhere, as long as I try my hardest and give it everything.”