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Popovic talks Venables, Bruce and plenty more

31 May 2020

Tony Popovic's start to life in south London was far from ideal, as our former centre-back revealed to Palace TV's Chris Grierson:

The start is always difficult because you’ve got to adapt," he says. "I was having issues with my work permit, as I was really on the border of having enough games to qualify [for a work permit] so I didn’t start the season and I had missed the pre-season."

Despite being unable to kick a ball in a professional capacity for the Eagles, Popovic liked what he saw from afar: "Just in that period [of being unable to play] and seeing the professionalism of the club and with Steve Bruce having been a defender who played at the very highest level with Manchester United, really enticed me to take that option when it became available."

It was in fact a former Palace manager who loosely played a part in Popovic heading to south London: Terry Venables. 

Venables had a stint as manager of Australia at a time when Popovic was beginning to make his mark with the Socceroos. Having a former England and Barcelona manager in the dugout helped put footballing eyes on Popovic's homeland.

"I had him [Terry Venables] for a short period when I was just breaking into the national team.

"The profile [of Australian football] was growing and having Terry Venables as the Head Coach really lifted the profile.

"Worldwide we were accepted more as a footballing nation; as nation that was evolving. I think we’ve just grown from strength-to-strength from there."

Popovic had plenty more to say on Michael Hughes, his and Dougie Freedman's coaching badges and, of course, the 2004 play-off run.

Watch the full interview below and reminisce with our former assistant manager and player.

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