In the Stands: Jason Cummings on his career's highest point, playing against Lionel Messi and more
Jason Cummings is becoming a household name in every Mohun Bagan Super Giant supporter’s house in Kolkata. Fans had immense excitement when he completed his move to the Kolkata side from Central Coast Mariners.
Jason Cummings is becoming a household name in every Mohun Bagan Super Giant supporter’s house in Kolkata. Fans had immense excitement when he completed his move to the Kolkata side from Central Coast Mariners. A Mariner before and still now, Cummings is gradually finding his rhythm, reminiscent of his time at his previous club.
The 28-year-old has hit the back of the net in each of his last three matches for the Mariners. Cummings was in sensational form last season, amassing an impressive total of 31 goals and contributing 12 assists in 50 games for the Central Coast Mariners. Now, he is beginning to replicate that performance with his new club.
Sharing his experiences across various clubs in different countries, Cummings discussed his most profound footballing journey in the latest episode of ‘In the Stands,’ hosted by Suyash Upadhyaya.
“I'd say at Hibernian FC (I had my most fulfilling footballing stint so far). For sure, I'd scored 20+ goals there for three seasons in a row. I had a really good time there, really enjoyed it, won the Scottish Cup and I just loved football at the time! Playing every week is massive when you have a manager who believes in you and plays you,” Cummings said during the interview with Suyash Upadhyaya.
“And then I would say you know I never really found that proper stability until I came to Australia, and played for the Central Coast Mariners. It was another time when I had a manager who believed in me and played me every week. And then I repaid him, you know, scoring twenty goals! That was another time in my career that I really enjoyed,” he added further.
Cummings also talked about the experience of playing for the Australian national football team and proudly representing them at the World Cup – a memory that holds a special place for him. He marked his FIFA World Cup debut in the opening match against France, entering the game as a substitute in the 56th minute.
He achieved the pinnacle of success by securing the A-League championship with the Central Coast Mariners during his debut season, triumphing over Melbourne City with an impressive 6-1 scoreline in the final. In short, the last season encapsulated a dream-like journey for the Australian striker.
“Obviously, playing with the Socceroos as well, the World Cup! Getting that opportunity, and having a good, successful time at the Central Coast Mariners and then winning the Grand Final with a great group of guys, a great manager, great staff. It was like a fairytale!” Cummings stated.
Also Read: In the Stands: Jason Cummings on joining Mohun Bagan SG, his love for the fans, and more
Born in Scotland, Cummings has represented the Scotland national team at youth levels and also played a couple of matches at the senior level. However, the opportunity of senior football didn’t look bright for him until he considered switching from Scotland to Australia in 2019.
Finally, in September 2022, just three months prior to the World Cup, Cummings earned his spot in the Australian squad for a pair of friendly matches against New Zealand. During the second match in Auckland, making his debut appearance, he entered the field as a second-half substitute and confidently netted a penalty.
“Yeah, I played for Scotland a couple of times but they were just friendlies. I was born in Scotland, and my mum was born in Australia, so I got that opportunity to play for Australia later on in my career through her and there came a point where, International Football, you know wasn't looking too good for me, Scotland weren't calling me up,” revealed Cummings.
“So the opportunity came, I spoke to Graham Arnold, the Socceroos manager because obviously he could see me playing in the A-League and I was doing well and scoring goals, and he called me up and gave me an opportunity and I think my first game was against New Zealand. I came on and scored the penalty,” he said.
Few players can recount the tale of playing against Lionel Messi, let alone on the grand stage of the FIFA World Cup. However, Cummings, with an impressive track record to his name, can also proudly share the experience of sharing the field with the Argentine great.
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This unique opportunity arose when Australia faced off against Argentina in the Round of 16 during last year's World Cup. Cummings featured in that game for the Socceroos as his team narrowly fell 2-1 against the reigning World Champions.
Cummings now reflects upon those priceless moments of going up against Messi in the unforgettable Round of 16 clash last year.
“With the Ronaldo-Messi debate, I think the World Cup just swayed it towards Messi. For me personally, you know, both these guys are just the best. They've made it hard for players like me! You know, they've set the bar so high for the other players in the world, it's impossible to get to this level,” opined Cummings.
“So I just said to him, "Well done on the game!" They beat us, they scored a good goal. And I just said, look, "I think you're the greatest player of all time. I appreciate what you've done for football"
“I think I said “I loved him (chuckles), maybe! I'm not too sure. I just gave him a little cuddle and said "All the best", and that hopefully he could go on and win this World Cup, and it was just a dream to meet this guy and just to be in the same vicinity as him, you know to be sharing a pitch with him and playing on the highest stage. It was just cool man!” the Australian revealed.
In the upcoming AFC Asian Cup, Team India has been grouped alongside Australia, Syria, and Uzbekistan. There is a strong possibility that both Cummings and his teammates at Mohun Bagan Super Giant will be called for Asia's greatest footballing event in January.
Cummings has expressed his enthusiasm about having the opportunity to compete against his own club teammates during the AFC Asian Cup, as he provides a glimpse into his thoughts and feelings.
“Yeah, I've spoken to the boys like Glan (Martins), Sahal (Abdul Samad), Liston (Colaco), all that. I'll say hopefully we can play each other. You know, if I get called up and these guys get called up it would be exciting to play against them. I'm going to take no prisoners, I'm going to smash them(laughs)!,” stated the Aussie forward.
“I've been here only three weeks but I feel at home here! The people have been welcoming, and they're friendly. So I kind of feel part of this whole thing. So that'll be a special occasion to have the Australian fans and the Indian fans watching, and both cheering me on, would be good,” Cummings signed off!
Watch the full interview here: