Whether it’s in Adelaide, Melbourne, or the Hunter, Valentino Yuel has shown his fighting spirit wherever he’s played - both in matches, and on the training field.
This season sees a host of new players vying for attacking positions with many of them coming from overseas providing one of the biggest challenges he’s come across in his football career.
With a desire to constantly improve, the 26-year-old from Kenya is prepared to do what it takes to cement a spot in Manager, Arthur Papas’ Newcastle Jets starting side this upcoming season. Regardless of if he’s playing as a centre forward, or on the wing, Yuel has made clear only his best every week, will do.
“It’s going to be a lot harder than it was last year,” Yuel said.
“All across the field, there’s going to be players competing.
“Competition breeds improvement. If someone is taking their foot off the pedal, someone else will take their place.”
Yuel has spent most his time at the Club in the centre of the attacking third, both on his own, and with a strike partner. But this season, he’s angling for a new role in a position where he believes he can showcase more of his skills.
“I prefer on the wing,” he said. “I think there’s a lot more freedom.”
“I like being isolated with more one-on-one situations.
“Instead of having my back towards goal, I can run directly towards defenders, and I’ll look to increase my number of assists.
“It [his position] is not an issue though, as long as I’m in the team.”
A knack for scoring goals has always been a weapon in Valentino’s arsenal. He managed to achieve 17 goals from his last three seasons playing in the National Premier Leagues (NPL) and scored four in his first season in Jets colours.
That amount wasn’t enough for him though, and he’s determined to improve.
“I definitely want to score more goals,” he said.
“I want to be more effective in the front third, I think that’s an area I need to improve in.
“Having quality players coming in means I’ve got to be a lot better than I was last year to be able to get a starting position and keep it.”