Jets’ faith inspires Marcos Flores to get back to his best

HOPE FLOATS: Marcos Flores in Newcastle on Thursday. Picture: Ryan Osland– MARCOS FLORES

AFTER the six months Marcos Flores has endured, he just wanted some faith.
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Faith he could recapture the form that took the A-League by storm at Adelaide in 2010-11 when he was the Johnny Warren Medallist.

There are not many more frightening injuries for footballers than a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

Marcos Flores at the jets office in Wickham -19th June 2014 pic Ryan Osland

The resulting knee reconstruction is a long and lonely road to recovery spent on physio tables and in gyms.

Not only does the injury present a hurdle to performance, it can destroy confidence.

The 28-year-old Flores ruptured his ACL at Central Coast training in January and has spent much of his initial recovery in Argentina.

On Wednesday, Flores arrived in his new home town eager to complete his recovery and once again light up the A-League.

‘‘I told them you perform at your best when people show you faith, not when they pay you the most,’’ Flores said yesterday. ‘‘Today the Jets have given something more important than money, that is faith, and I will pay it back.

‘‘I promised my friends and family back in Argentina, and now I’m ready to work hard and not talk much and do hard work in the gym and be available to be come back and be stronger than ever.’’

The charismatic South American arrives with big expectations.

After stints at Adelaide, Melbourne Victory and the Mariners, Flores is seen as the creative spark the Jets have longed for since the halcyon days of the 2007-08 championship.

He is a genuine No.10 whose passing game should prove an asset for the likes of Jets strikers Joel Griffiths and Adam Taggart.

Flores has also netted 16 goals in his 67 A-League games since 2009-10.

But he warned against expectations that he would simply recapture the form that earned him the tag of the league’s best player.

It will require a team effort.

‘‘I owe a little bit of the medal to [ex-Adelaide players] Mathew Leckie, to Travis Dodd, to Sergio van Dijk, who are amazing players and through familiarity we understood each other,’’ he said.

‘‘I want to have the same talk with the guys here who want to go forward and try to do the best with them.

‘‘If all of us are on the same channel, we’re going to show it 110 per cent as individuals.’’

Jets coach Phil Stubbins is no stranger to Flores’s silky skills. Stubbins was his assistant coach at the Reds, and chasing the playmaker’s signature was a top priority when he received his first top job in the A-League.

To make that a reality, former Jets captain and rugged midfielder Ruben Zadkovich was released from the final season of his contract to join Perth on a two-year deal.

Asked if Zadkovich’s departure placed more pressure on him, Flores said: ‘‘The guy who puts the most pressure on me is myself.

Marcos Flores at the jets office in Wickham -19th June 2014 pic Ryan Osland

‘‘I am so obsessed to be better every day.

‘‘I respect the ex-captain, who’s an amazing player, a different player. I just want to show my quality to the fans.’’

How soon Jets fans get to see that quality will be determined by the progress on his rehabilitation.

Flores hopes to be ready to make an appearance in the pre-season trials.

‘‘I will play when they think it is right,’’ he said.

‘‘I will not rush, and that is the confidence the Jets have given to me.

‘‘They want to take me to 100 per cent.

‘‘I know I’m in good hands, so I will follow whatever they decide.’’

Flores watched the initial stages of the World Cup from Argentina and has taken particular interest in the rise of Leckie during the Socceroos’ losses to Chile and the Netherlands in Brazil.

Leckie and Flores were teammates at the Reds and he has also seen the likes of former Brisbane midfielder Tommy Oar progress from the A-League to the global stage.

‘‘They are amazing young talents,’’ he said.

‘‘The Socceroos are in transition and these boys are going to do great in the next World Cup.’’

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