Besian hopes to repay faith after fearing for pro career
BESIAN Idrizaj has finally put the health scare which threatened his career behind him — and now he wants to fire Swansea City to the Premier League.
The Austrian striker has been to hell and back already in his short time in the pro game, but today he's looking to the Promised Land.
After collapsing during a game while playing for Wacker Innsbruck in his homeland just over two years ago, Idrizaj feared for his football future.
Fortunately, though, the cause of his collapse was a virus rather than a heart problem as first feared.
As he attempted to rebuild his career, Idrizaj admits there weren't many offers on the table, with clubs seeing him as a big risk.
But thanks to Swansea City, Idrizaj has a chance to make up for lost time.
Austria's young player of the year in 2005, Idrizaj showed enough potential to earn a move to Liverpool.
Loan stints at Luton and Crystal Palace didn't get the best out of the former Austria Under-21 international, and his health scare seemed to end his time in English football.
Swansea have changed that, and Idrizaj is desperate to repay their faith.
It hasn't gone smoothly in Wales, either, so far.
Just one league start and four appearances off the bench have brought a total of only 98 minutes' gametime.
But Idrizaj says he has now overcome his health issues mentally, and he is in positive mood following a first appearance since December in Tuesday's win at Watford.
"I've been through hell, and I'm only 22," he says.
"My health problems made me, and many clubs, think that my career was over.
"I've come back from some major setbacks, but now I can see the future is a promising place.
"I was released by Liverpool and was searching for somewhere to play. I went to Germany to play and I was questioning my ability and health.
"But I knew deep down that I could play professional football at a top level again.
"My chance has come with Swansea. It has taken quite a long time to adapt.
"I appreciated the chances the gaffer gave me against Scunthorpe and Plymouth. I didn't take my chance in those games, but I quickly realised that I wasn't ready at that time.
"My fitness was not right and my touch and movement was not there either.
"But I've had time to get a lot of training behind me and games with the reserves, while I've also come off the bench in the Championship.
"These things have all helped my comeback."
He added: "A switch flicked in my head recently. Suddenly the worries about my health were gone and now I'm desperate to show the gaffer, chairman and supporters what I can do.
"I want to repay them for the faith they have shown me, and the opportunity I have received.
"I am ready to show my quality now."
Idrizaj's recent exploits both on and off the field suggest he should provide Paulo Sousa with added firepower.
Along with scoring goals for the club's second string, the 22-year-old has been dealing with firepower of a different kind after being called up for national service in his homeland.
"My dad did it when he was younger, and my two brothers have too," said Idrizaj.
"I was taught how to open a gun, how to load it and shoot it. I was hopeless at it. It is crazy, but it is not something you can avoid in my home country.
"I don't think I have to go back again. I won't be volunteering for it.
"Hopefully I will shoot much better at goal than I have with a gun."