Superman Nabbout opens up on remarkable return to Socceroos
FIT and focused, Andrew Nabbout is ready lead Australia's forward line at the Asian Cup just six months after his World Cup injury heartbreak.
Nabbout's campaign in Russia lasted just 63 minutes after he dislocated his shoulder during the 2-1 loss to France in the Socceroos' opening match in Kazan.
The injury was expected to rule the Urawa Red Diamonds striker out until after Christmas, putting his hopes of being a part of Australia's Asian Cup defence in the UAE in severe doubt.
Remarkably, he was back playing for his Japanese side by the end of September, continuing a remarkable rise where he has usurped Tomi Juric and Jamie Maclaren as the Socceroos' main man up front.
"I did rehab three times a day to get ready for this," Nabbout said.
"It didn't cross my mind once that I wouldn't be here, or that I wouldn't be ready for this.
"Obviously me being here was the boss's (coach Graham Arnold) decision but I knew that if I was ready and I put my hand up, made myself available for selection, then I had done everything in my power."
Part of Nabbout's rehabilitation involved rebuilding the lost muscle in his shoulder, but he was wary about matching workouts with his body-building father Milad - a two-time "Mr Lebanon".
"I try and stay away from him. His background's in the gym, I'm trying to stay out of the gym," Nabbout said.
"He's very good. He always gives me tips and pointers on how to maintain condition.
"There's certain aspects that he would have learned that I may not get in a football environment."
After a tough baptism to international football where he was employed as lone striker under former coach Bert van Marwijk, the 26-year-old is excited about what Arnold's three-pronged strike force can do at the Asian Cup, starting with Sunday's Group B opener against Jordan in Al Ain.
"We're just going to play a really attacking style of football and that's exciting for any attacker, to be given that freedom and the opportunity to constantly go forward, that's what we play for, that's what we want," Nabbout said.
"We've got a lot of players who want to go forward and a lot of pace to burn. That's what we're going to do."