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The Wizard of Oz: How a quiet and well-mannered Aussie lit up the Championship for Town

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Some Town fans had puzzled looks when David Wagner announced the loan signing of a relatively unknown Australian central midfielder in August 2016.

Coming from Premier League giants Manchester City, most if not all Town fans had little to no clue about what sort of player we would be getting. He arrived as a diminutive and polite addition to the squad. Quiet but evidently driven and with a determination to make an impression, what he lacked in elaborate answers in interviews, he made up for with majestic performances on the football pitch.

Many Australian football fans of the ‘Socceroo’ informed uneducated town fans that Mooy’s best position was as a No 10, sitting behind a main centre-forward, playing between the lines and finding pockets of space between the opposition defence and midfield to launch attacks or shoot at goal.

However, Head Coach David Wagner openly stated he saw him as the more advanced midfielder in a pair of central midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 formation to replace the out-going Emyr Huws. As the season has demonstrated, this is where Mooy has thrived and excelled.

Not being blessed with great pace hasn’t stopped Mooy from completely dominating games for Town and running our midfield with metronomic efficiency and orchestrating precision artistry passing of the highest calibre. His range of passing is Premier League quality and you will struggle to name playmakers that are of a similar stature to Mooy even in some Premier League circles.

He has an almost mystical ability to always receive the ball in 4-5 yards of space. Even when that isn’t the case, a dummy or quick drop of the shoulder allows him to glide past his marker and give himself the time to pick a cross-field pass or put one of our wing-forwards away. The best way to describe it would be that he appears to operate in his own universe in the central of the park.

Similar to how France and Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane operated, he is calmness personified on the ball and combines it with a tenacious attitude for tracking back and winning possession with the awareness to find his team-mates time and time again.

Whilst he probably would openly admit he could have scored more goals this season, the goals he has scored have been crucial. His most notable goal came in the 1-0 win at Elland Road against Leeds United which I was lucky enough to watch, taking a ball 30 yards out and drilling it into the bottom left corner beyond a hapless Robert Green.

In the play-off final, some suggested that we didn’t see the best of Aaron Mooy. I would be the first to wholeheartedly disagree with that notion. Whilst he had his hands full dealing with Reading’s best player on the day, Danny Williams, his passing was judged to perfection and he tirelessly tracked back to help his team-mates and win possession back.

There was one great moment in the second half where upon receiving the ball, Mooy attempted to find town’s forward players and 3 different Reading players attempted to win the ball back from him unsuccessfully, leaving them on the ground before releasing the ball. Another moment was his contribution to the build-up to Collin Quaner’s mis-hit attempt at goal towards the end of normal time.

He received the ball on the right-hand side, dummying the Reading full-back with a fake shot before slipping a lovely flat pass across the box to which Quaner, unfortunately, took the ball of Nakhi Wells who was ready to pounce.

If the victorious Play-Off final was the last time we see Aaron Mooy in a town shirt, then I will be bitterly disappointed but understanding. A player like this does not come round very often and even rarer is it when they don the blue and white stripes of Huddersfield Town.

I for one have felt privileged on every occasion that I have watched him live and he has truly been one of, if not the best player I have seen play for Huddersfield Town in my lifetime.

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