It would be fair to say the past 18 months have been a rollercoaster ride for Huddersfield Town and Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy.
And it would only be fair to say as Australian supporters we have quite enjoyed watching him progress from A-League star at Melbourne City to one of the most important players in the Terriers’ lineup.
In season 2016-17, Mooy took on one of the most challenging leagues in world football – the English Championship. On most Terriers’ matchdays, Australian supporters would wake up to stunning praise to a man who has since been dubbed ‘The Pasty Pirlo’.
Some supporters even went as far as saying he was the greatest player they had seen on the Huddersfield Town shirt in the club’s history. That is some complement to a man who had initially joined on loan.
By the end of the season it was only fitting he converted a penalty in the shootout at Wembley which saw David Wagner’s side gain one of the most unlikely promotions in recent history. When Manchester City elected to sell the 27-year-old to the Terriers, we rejoiced as football fans because we were so pleased to see the fairytale continue.
Eight games into the Premier League season and Mooy has simply taken his game to another level. His form has certainly not gone unnoticed either with former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry ringing high praise for the midfielder following Town’s victory over Newcastle in August, in which Mooy scored the winner.
“We knew it was going to come from Aaron Mooy — thinking, magic,” he said on Sky Sports. “I like when a player thinks.”
Throughout the duration of the season, Mooy has shown he isn’t afraid to do the dirty work defensively either, ranking equal second in the Premier League for tackles with 29 alongside teammate Christopher Schindler. That number in itself is ahead of Chelsea star N’Golo Kante and Everton’s Idrissa Gueye.
But while Mooy has continues to impress, things haven’t been going so well for the Terriers as a whole. Following last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Swansea, Wagner’s side are now winless in their past six games.
Wagner’s decision to start Mooy on the bench came after Mooy was withdrawn on the hour mark against Tottenham Hotspur a couple weeks earlier. That 3-0 defeat was Mooy’s first real experience of how brutal England’s top-flight can be, especially against the top six.
And thing’s don’t get any easier this weekend against Manchester United.
After eight games, United sit second on the table having scored in all but one of their games – last weekend’s scoreless draw with Liverpool. Despite coming off the bench against Swansea last weekend, presumably due to fatigue from the international break, Mooy is expected to the starting line-up this weekend.
Alongside Schindler, the former Western Sydney Wanderer will have a huge task in stopping the likes of Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Thus far this season – in league action at least – the latter two have played a big role in United’s early season title bid.
While most people have Jose Mourinho’s side as red hot favourites going into the clash, Huddersfield aren’t afraid of the big stage and there is every possibility they can cause a major upset.
If Mooy can produce one of his best performances in a Huddersfield shirt, then anything is possible and fans can only hope his teammates following his lead.
The biggest of his test of his club career is now just a couple of days away.