Aleksandar Mitrovic is a happy man.
The 23 year old striker happy to talk about ‘the biggest and proudest night in my football career, definitely’.
Apparently coming back to beat Norwich 4-3 has just been overtaken by helping Serbia qualify for next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.
Serbia ending up top of Group D, two points clear of the Republic of Ireland who go into the play-offs.
Mitrovic didn’t score in the 1-0 win over Georgia which took them over the finishing line but he can be very pleased with his overall contribution.
During the period of qualifying, he only started 11 league matches for Newcastle, but started nine of the 10 World Cup group games, scoring six goals.
Describing Monday night, Aleksandar Mitrovic says ‘it was unbelievable’.
In club football it has been a different story this season, off the bench to score in an 18 minute cameo against West Ham, but then suspension and left totally out of the squad v Liverpool.
On such a high after this international break, is there a case for at least putting Mitro on the bench at Southampton?
Aleksandar Mitrovic talking to the official club site:
“It was an amazing night for all people in Serbia. It was unbelievable.
“It’s been a long period of qualification, about a year and a half since we started, and after eight years, the whole country has waited for our football team to go to a big competition.
“When we started, it was difficult, because no one believed in us.
“For the first game there was about five or ten thousand people, but for the last game there was almost 50,000 people. It was unbelievable what we did, what we achieved, and it was the biggest and proudest night in my football career, definitely.
“It’s a big deal.
“When I was younger you watch football and dream about representing your country and your people in a big competition. We have a lot of sports in Serbia – basketball, water polo and some other sports are really big, and we have a lot of success in almost every sport – but football is still number one. It’s really unbelievable.
“The manager of Serbia always believed in me – for him I was always the first striker, and I played almost every game. He gave me confidence, and I’m glad that I gave him back goals and assists. I’m very happy and proud, and I can be thankful.
“He knows my abilities, he always talks to me and encourages me – not just me, but the whole team. Before he came we had a problem, because we had a lot of good players but we didn’t have a team.
“He made us train, believe and do everything like a team, and the atmosphere in the team for a year and a half was unbelievable. We are good friends, and I think every player can’t wait to get the call from the national team and to be there. It’s really nice, and it’s a pleasure to be part of this team.
“It’s one more thing (the World Cup finals) to work for. It’s in front of me, so I have to stay in shape, train hard and try to prepare to be at the World Cup in the best shape I can be. It’s a long time away, but I want to play, and I want to be in the best shape I can be.
“It’s the biggest teams and the biggest competition in football, the biggest competition any player can dream of playing in. We are a small country, with six or seven million people, but you see now that our country is next to some much bigger countries.
“We don’t want to go there just to be there. If we go there, we will try to do something more, to be part of Serbian history. It’s not just motivation for me – it’s motivation for all players who represent our country and our people.”