Albion Park junior Luke Wilkshire wants a starting role for Sydney FC after turning down more lucrative offers in Russia to play his first A-League campaign.
Former Socceroos defender Wilkshire, 35, has returned home to Sydney and signed with the defending champions after more than 18 years in Europe.
He spent most of his time with Russian top-flight outfit Dynamo Moscow, but he also played in the Dutch Eredivisie with FC Twente and Feyenoord.
The 80-cap Australian player admitted he suffered mentally from struggling for game time in his last two seasons in Moscow and wanted to avoid a similar fate at the Sky Blues.
"I don't enjoy sitting on the bench or not playing. It's not my thing and it never has been, all my career," Wilkshire said.
Wilkshire has been reunited with Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold, a Socceroos assistant in the early days of his international career, including at the 2006 World Cup.
Wilkshire is set to step in at right back at Sydney FC for Rhyan Grant, who suffered an ACL injury in June.
"After speaking to Arnie, the opportunity woke something up inside me, in a sense," Wilkshire said.
"I had a few other opportunities in Russia in the second division.
"Financially it was more rewarding, but motivation-wise, for myself and my family, it wasn't so appealing."
Wilkshire went on to play in the 2010 World Cup, but was left out of the squad for the 2014 tournament.
Despite his veteran status, he believes he can compete with the ever-increasing speed and toughness of the A-League.
"People thought I'd died in 2014 after the World Cup omission, but I certainly didn't," he said.
"I've still been plying my trade in Europe, in the top leagues. Whether people have noticed or seen or not, that's not a thing for me to dwell on.
"I'm still enjoying my football, which is why I'm still playing at the age that I am. I feel good, physically and mentally.
"Mentally is the most challenging thing at my age. If you still have that drive and hunger to play and to win. I have that, which is the reason I'm here."