MITCHELL Oxborrow will never forget the heart-sinking moment when his parents announced they were moving from their home in the east end of London to the other side of the planet.
‘‘Especially being only 10, I thought my world was over,’’ was his reaction on learning the Oxborrow family were immigrating to Perth.
Not only was young Mitchell dreading the prospect of leaving his childhood mates, but his dream of playing for his cherished West Ham United, who had already identified his talent, was in tatters.
Eight years on, the Dagenham-Redbridge junior could not be happier with how things have panned out in his adopted country.
He has represented Australia at under-17 and under-19 level, made his A-League debut with the Jets last year and yesterday agreed to a new contract that will keep him in Newcastle until at least the end of next season.
‘‘It’s probably the best thing that it did happen, because there’s a lot of talent in England,’’ he told the Newcastle Herald.
‘‘It’s such a slim chance of becoming a footballer, let alone in England in the middle of London.’’
The 18-year-old midfielder still speaks with a slight Cockney accent but regards himself as an Aussie through and through.
‘‘It’s my home now,’’ he said.
Not that his dual passport won’t come in handy.
‘‘I’d like to play in Europe, whenever that may be,’’ he said. ‘‘I guess that’s every kid’s goal, to play in the big leagues and earn the big money, but I have to make sure that I have a club in Australia, and right now the Jets are where I want to be.’’
Oxborrow’s lone A-League game was an experience that he remembers as a ‘‘massive learning curve’’.
Playing in Perth last season, the 17-year-old lost possession, an error that was punished by a goal, and was replaced by Jets coach Gary van Egmond at half-time.
‘‘What happened to me was a two-yard pass that I didn’t hit hard enough and they nip through and score,’’ he said.
‘‘But it showed that there is a big step up from youth league, which there should be, and I don’t think I was really prepared for the step up at that time ... it was probably a good thing I did come off.
‘‘Obviously Gary’s decision is always going to be the best one because that’s why he’s the coach of our team.
‘‘At the time, I honestly think it was a good decision.’’
After the game, van Egmond said the harsh initiation could prove to be a defining moment in Oxborrow’s career.