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Fulham new boy in awe of the club

James Musa is on a five month trial with the club and, after two years of ups and downs, is particularly eager to impress.

Hannah Johnston - Getty Images

In 2011, James Musa was without a club, having just been released by New Zealand side, Wellington Phoenix. He had only played three games but failed to impress and Wellington weren't prepared to keep him on, despite his tender age of only 19.

He's 20 now, and he finds himself marking Dimitar Berbatov at Fulham FC's training ground. It's been a huge step up for the New Zealand Under-23 defender but he's happily taking it in his stride.

"It's just a massive eye-opener, you know, like I was at home a month ago, watching the Premier League on TV, now I'm at Fulham training with the likes of Berbatov," Musa told the Dominion Post.

Not that this came easily. Musa has had many footballing ups and downs in his short career - not least a failed move to Bradford City this time last season. He had impressed in Under 20 World Cup and then Bradford manager, Peter Jackson, was willing to offer the defender a 2 year deal. As the process was nearing completion, though, Jackson resigned and the deal fell through.

Musa then found himself at Waitakere City FC, a small side playing in a semi-professional New Zealand division. A stint at Team Wellington followed but it was this summer's London Olympics that proved the 20 year old's defining moment.

A 37 minute stint against Egypt at Old Trafford was enough to impress Fulham's head scout, watching from the stands.

And now, training at Motspur Park around Premier League footballers, Musa thinks things probably couldn't get any better.

"It is pretty crazy. You've got everything you could want, ice baths, massages, people there to cut your nails, it's top notch."

But the one thing he's yet to receive is playing time. He has only a five month trial with the club - giving him until January to prove himself - but with Jol testing the fitness of Philippe Senderos, Musa has yet to feature in the new U21 league setup.

"It is frustrating but you can understand why," the youngster said.

"I'm not angry about it. I had a chat to the coach the other day and he just said keep battling on and your chance will come. So I'm not taking it as a negative, because I know the players coming down are Premier League players."

And, unlike most of these Premier League players, Musa still holds a distinct sense of perspective - something which will stand him in good stead as he fights for a permanent deal.

"It's everyone's dream to do something that you love and earn a living doing it. I'm not trying to make millions of pounds right now. I'm just happy to get the opportunity and the money will come later."