Jedinak says the prospect of being the first Australian to captain an FA Cup Final team is “crazy” and will spur him on when he leads Crystal Palace against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday (early Sunday morning Australian time).
Victory would give the south London club a first-ever major trophy some 26 years after being denied by Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in a final replay at the old Wembley Stadium.
Whatever the outcome, it will be an emotional and exhilarating afternoon for Jedinak, who has come such a long way since making his Sydney United debut 15 years ago.
And he will be thinking of Jevtic, who played such a pivotal role in developing his football career.
“I have kept Dragan in my thoughts and prayers throughout since then,” said Jedinak this week.
“I worked with him and also admired him. I got to know his family, his lovely wife and two children, well and it was such an unfortunate and sad thing to have happened.
“It was an emotional time and if someone is up there watching over me at Wembley on Saturday there could be no better man to cheer me on.
“He got me my move to Turkey and helped my career so much.
The midfielder is no stranger to Wembley having helped Palace win promotion there as well as performing heroics in the semi-final defeat of Watford.
The 64-cap Socceroo joins a special list of Australians who have graced English football’s prestigious end-of-season stage, with Joe Marston (Preston 1954), Craig Johnston (Liverpool 1986), Tim Cahill (Everton 2004 and 2010) and Harry Kewell (Liverpool 2006) going before him.
“Knowing I am the first Australian to captain an FA Cup final team spurs me on,” said Jedinak.
“It’s crazy… there are a lot of Manchester United supporters back home but I think there will also be a lot of football fans back home supporting their fellow Australian.
“It would be very special for me and the club we could lift that cup.
“As a kid it was one of the only games shown live on TV and the build up was always phenomenal. The games were at one or two in the morning but people followed them religiously….and rightly so.
“Seeing the incredible crowds and then the winning team walking up those steps to receive the trophy made it very special.
“You couldn’t help think, ‘maybe that could be me one day’. You dream about it but I never really expected it to happen.”
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