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5 questions with Sydney midfielder Nicola Kuleski

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Nicola Kuleski; photo: Kuleski; photo: of the players currently participating in the U21 training camp is Nicola Kuleski, an Australian born player of Macedonian origin.

Nicola Kuleski was born in Australia on May 7, 1996. Earlier this week, he made the long flight from Australia to Macedonia to get ready for a training camp for the U21 national team. The youth side began preparations for the June 11 qualifier against Iceland on Friday. Kuleski was present, as were numerous other players, with the exception of a few who will join up with the team in the coming days.

The U21 squad will train in Skopje for several days before then moving to Ohrid since the senior national team will be using the pitches at the FFM headquarters.

Last week, while announcing the squad, U21 manager Blagoja Milevski stated that Nicola Kuleski had also been invited to the camp. Milevski said that he will observe Kuleski to see if he has the quality to help Macedonia U21. Based on his camp showing, Milevski will then decide whether Kuleski will make the trip to Iceland.

Kuleski (3rd from L) at the U21 camp; photo: FFMKuleski (3rd from L) at the U21 camp; photo: FFM

Kuleski is no stranger to the Macedonian federation since he has already played for the U17 national team in the past. However, since he was born in 1996, Nicola is no longer eligible for the U19 national team. For this cycle, U19 players must be born on January 1, 1997 or later. So, for that reason, the federation decided to give Kuleski a look for the U21 side.

Nicola currently plays for the youth team of Sydney FC. Earlier this week, we decided to contact Kuleski to learn more about him and his career. He graciously agreed to be interviewed, leading to our question and answer session below.

We talked to Kuleski about his early beginnings, his preferred position and his expectations for the U21 training camp, among other things.

MF: Nicola, tell us about your beginnings in football? When did you start training and with which clubs in your early days?
NK: I started very young. My dad was a football player as well, so I was always going to have a passion for football. I started at the age of 4 but it really started getting serious around the age of 7, training a lot. I played for Marconi in Australia in my early days.

MF: What position do you play? Also, can you tell someone who hasn't watched you play about your characteristics on the football pitch?
NK: I am a centre midfielder. I don't mind attacking midfield or defensive midfield, I can play both. I am a very technical player that can take players on. However, I can also be that simple player that can string the passes. I am very explosive with the ball and some say I'm quicker with the ball than without it.

MF: You were summoned by U21 manager Blagoja Milevski for the training camp ahead of the Iceland qualifier. How did you get in touch with the Macedonian federation?
NK: I have always been in touch with the Macedonian federation, having played a lot of games with the U17 national team. I was also asked to come play for the U19 national team, but couldn't (age eligibility) and now they called me for the U21 squad.

MF: What are your expectations ahead of the U21 camp? Do you know Phil Petreski, another Australian-Macedonian on the latest U21 roster?
NK: My expectations ahead of the camp are positive. I'm confident in the players we have and I know we will do everything we can to qualify for the EURO championship. It's a tough group with the Republic of Ireland and France being some of the countries. Yes, I do know Phil. I have played against him in the national youth league in Australia, him playing for Melbourne City and myself at Sydney FC.

MF: Lastly, what is the perception of Macedonian football in Australia? Do you feel that the success of someone like Daniel Georgievski will lead to more players like you being interested in representing Macedonia one day?
NK: The perception of Macedonian football in Australia is good. They believe we are very technical and think that we will grow in strength year by year. Yes, I do believe the successes of Daniel will give the idea and lead to more Australian-Macedonian players if they work hard like myself and Phil. However, any sportsman will tell you it still requires a lot of self dedication and work to make it to the national team, and it's a great honour for any sportsman to represent the country of their birth or origin.

*Correction: Kuleski mentioned the Republic of Ireland in answer #4, but as user "Pingu" noted in the comments section below, it should be Northern Ireland. They are in Macedonia's group, not the Republic of Ireland. It was just a mix up for Nicola.


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