I know my story is very different’ – Newcastle’s former bricklayer Indalecio ready for ‘second opportunity’



The Frenchman has taken an unusual route to the Premier League and is determined to take his chance

Florent Indalecio says he is ready to grasp his “second opportunity” at Newcastle after previously playing in the Australian fourth division while working part-time as a bricklayer.

The 23-year-old has signed a one-year deal with the north east side after a successful trial and will initially link-up with the club’s U23 squad.

He is close friends with Magpies winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who signed a new six-year contract earlier this month, though manager Steve Bruce insists he didn’t offer Indalecio deal because of that friendship.

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His arrival at St James’ Park marks a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for Indalecio, whose career was very nearly over before it began when he was diagnosed with a tumour in his knee shortly after his release by home town club Saint-Etienne at the age of 15.

“It was hard for me, very difficult,” he told Newcastle’s website . “I was in my house for a month and a half and I had a brace on my leg. After that, I was going to the physiotherapist everyday, doing rehabilitation work about two times a day for maybe six to eight months.

“I was in the gym a lot because I lost most of the muscle in my leg when I stayed at home. I put on about 13 kilograms in one year and I was coming back stronger to restart football.”

After fully recovering, Indalecio had a short spell in America before attempting to revive his career in Australia, signing for semi-professional fourth tier side Fraser Park FC in Sydney.

When not playing and training he worked part-time as a bricklayer, often in swelteringly hot conditions.

“I never worked in construction before I moved to Australia so I said ‘OK, I will try it’. I never spoke any English either before I moved there so I just had to learn on the construction site with the people I met,” he said.

“It was very tough because I would do that job first, then after to make more money and live better I had a second labouring job. The first one would be from 7am to 3pm. I would go back to my apartment, take a shower and then work at 6pm until 2am.

“I did this to help my family and my parents, especially my mum. It was hard because I would only sleep about three hours per day.

“All year in Australia it is hot and I would be working in 30-35 degree heat. Sometimes you had no time to drink because the bricklayers would be asking for cement or bricks. I had a very strict boss so I learnt a lot from Australia. I know the real life when you wake up at half five in the morning and you go to work.”

Now back in Europe, Indalecio says his experience in Australia has made him even more determined to succeed and has set his sights on earning a place in the Magpies first-team squad.

“I said to the club that I don’t want to sign for fun or for the money. I really wanted to sign for Newcastle to prove that I can play one day at the highest level possible,” he said.

“I’m enjoying my time here. I appreciate all my teammates and already have good relationships with them and the staff too.

“I’m feeling good in Newcastle and I am very happy to be here. I’m just focused on playing football and I know the real work starts right now.”



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