A LOT’S changed since a baby-faced Nathan Burns took the A-League by storm in 2006.
Following two years with Adelaide United, Burns has played in Greece for four years with Greek Super League giants AEK Athens before earning a contract with Korean K-League Classic club Incheon United.
Now, come the 2013-14 A-League season, Burns’ career will have come full circle after the Blayney winger arrived on loan at the Newcastle Jets last week.
The 25-year-old is “very excited” ahead of his second stint in the A-League.
“It looks different, it definitely does,” Burns said looking at the evolution of the A-League, a competition he hasn’t played football in since 2008.
“It looks faster and more professional. I’m excited to get out there and see the level change.
“Each year the A-League goes to another level, and that’s good.”
Burns has linked with the Jets until January 11, at which time he is contractually obligated to return to Korea.
But given his lack of game time with Incheon - a coaching change shortly after arriving in Korea and an untimely knee injury limited the Socceroo to just three games with the club - Burns hinted he may be keen to extend his stay at home.
“We have to wait and see,” he said with at least 13 A-League games scheduled between the start of the season in October and when his loan period ends.
“A lot can happen in that time. It’s not really up to me, it’s up to my club. I’m still contracted with them.
“We’ll take it a game at a time.”
Burns scored 12 goals in 37 A-League and Asian Champions League appearances with Adelaide before moving to AEK Athens.
“I want to have that impact,” he said.
“I’ve done it before. I want to get out there and give my best.”
Burns began training with his new teammates at Ray Watt Oval on Monday morning.
Burns is likely to be named to debut with the Jets in a pre-season trial match against the Wellington Phoenix.
No longer feeling the affects of the knee injury that hampered his stay with Incheon, Burns is raring to go.
“Physically I feel very good,” he added.
“I felt like they were keen to have me at this football club, so that was the most important thing.
“I’ve been training hard for the last six months, so it’s just a matter of getting a couple of matches under my belt and I’ll be good to go.”
It’s the second loan deal Burns has struck after playing with association football league outfit Kerkyra F.C while contracted to AEK Athens in Greece.
The Jets’ A-League campaign will kick off against Sydney FC on October 11.