Jets midfielder Steve Ugarkovic keen for European challenge

Midfielder Steve Ugarkovic is not sure sure how the Newcastle Jets will fare against the speed and skill of La Liga talent in Spain, but he can’t wait for the challenge.

Steve Ugarkovic

Steve Ugarkovic

After playing on trips to China and Port Macquarie, Ugarkovic was excited for Newcastle’s toughest pre-season test yet, which started on Tuesday when the team travelled to Spain for games against Getafe and lower-league clubs Cartagena and Murcia.

“Personally, I can’t wait,” the former Croatian under-19 player said of the tour.

“And I think as a club it’s going to be a massive experience and a positive one, going over there and playing some great teams.

“Getafe are in the La Liga and even the lower-division teams, it’s still great quality because they are playing in Europe. They are playing against teams like Barcelona B, so it’s going to be a great test, physically and mentally, which will be good.

“Everyone knows Spain is pretty technical with their football so it’s going to be a good test on the field. 

“We might be chasing a few shadows every now and then but I think that’s part of the process in football, you like to challenge yourself.”

The Jets won the Super Champions Cup in China, defeating Super League club Shanghai Shenhua 2-0 and Changchun Yatai on penalties. They returned for a 9-0 win over a Mid North Coast select side last week.

Ugarkovic was keen to see Newcastle measure up against European talent.

“We had a good tournament in China against two big sides over there and we performed well and got the results,” he said. “It’s going to be a completely different test for us against completely different opposition, European sides which we haven’t come across, so I think it’s going to be exciting.”