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Holmes stays home to concentrate on Fleet

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New goalkeeper Jordan Holmes has skipped the forthcoming international break with Australia to stay in England with Ebbsfleet United.

The 22-year-old, who has played in the last two games for the Fleet, is the U23 goalkeeper for his native country with his sights set on competing for the Olyroos in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

But Holmes revealed yesterday that he wants to stay and fight for his place at the Kuflink Stadium after a four-point weekend for his new club.

“It was [a case of] did I want to sign for Ebbsfleet and play the first few games or go international,” Holmes told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “I said to the manager for Australia that I wanted to hit the ground running here and be a part of something, make sure I’m in the team, so I’ve taken myself out of the Australian team for this upcoming international break to get myself closer to the boys here. I want to be part of this here and if my performances are still good enough, I should still be selected for the Australian team.”

From one Australian team to another, the goalkeeper has – like many sports fans in this country – kept one eye on the cricket. For a man with Irish and Maltese heritage but born in Sydney, it’s been tough viewing.

“[The Ashes] wasn’t the greatest performance by our boys… well, it was for the first three days but I couldn’t believe it in the end. It’s a great win for England but hopefully Australia can bring it home. My dad’s whole side of the family’s Irish, there’s that side of it, then my mum’s Maltese born in Australia so I’m a bit of a mixture but full Australian-bred.”

Having moved to England at a young age to take up an opportunity with Bournemouth’s academy, Holmes is now looking for a sustained run in senior football with the Fleet.

“It was a bit of a daunting one,” he said of replacing Nathan Ashmore on Saturday. “I know how Nathan Ashmore was very much loved here and a big player for previous years. It was big shoes to fill and I’m glad the fans have taken to me and I can repay them with a few good performances.

“It’s a massive thing for me, having my debut on the weekend and getting the first point, and then between us and the gaffer, we needed to get the season started this weekend with teams in and around us. It was great to get that win, a bit frustrating as there was no clean sheet, but we’ll take the win and move on to Saturday.”

Holmes steadied the nerves at Boreham Wood, pushing away Keiran Murtagh’s free-kick in the first half, diverting over the same player’s goalbound effort in the second and making some clean catches on crosses late on as Boreham Wood threw everything into the Fleet box.

“I made a few big saves for us but it’s a team effort,” he said. “The boys at the front got us into a great position and I’m only as good as the people in front of me. It’s a great bunch of lads and good to be a part of something big here.

“It’s a good experience. When you think about it, the only way you can go is up so you’re hopefully making a positive impact and at this moment I am but I need to keep on pushing it.

“I’m glad and happy the fans have taken to me. It’s always good being welcomed to a club and hopefully my performances carry on and we push on towards the play-offs and something bigger.”

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