Give me a break
Mike Grella tells Chris Burton of his desire to earn regular opportunities to impress at Brentford.
Last Updated: 16/12/11 10:58pm
When Mike Grella took the decision to commit his future to Brentford, he hoped he was opening the door to a new dawn and a bright future.
Having been left frustrated for long periods during his time at Leeds United, the American forward was determined to prove his worth and make his mark in English football.
Unfortunately, he has ended up standing still.
Or sitting down, to be more precise.
The 24-year-old has been unable to force his way into Uwe Rosler's plans on a regular basis, and that has often left him kicking his heels on the sidelines.
There is nothing more infuriating for a footballer than having to watch on from the bench - itching to get out on the park and stamp your own authority on proceedings, only to be denied the opportunity to do so.
Grella is hoping his day will arrive soon, with his confidence in his own ability unwavering.
He believes he can do a job if given the chance, with it impossible to show your true colours when restricted to the odd cameo role.
The very reason he joined the Bees was to get more minutes under his belt and he admits things have not gone entirely to plan for him at Griffin Park.
"It has been a bit frustrating," he told skysports.com's Chris Burton.
"I took the decision to come here to try and help the team and I feel like I haven't been able to do that in the way that I would have liked. It has been frustrating but we have a great group of guys, an excellent manager and we are definitely heading in the right direction. I'm excited about being part of what is happening, but I need to play games.
"The bottom line is that every player wants to play. I certainly do. I had a difficult time at Leeds, it was such a big club and it was tough to get an opportunity. I have found it difficult, not in terms of the level of football, but in terms of getting opportunities. It's been a frustrating time."
Grella's lack of action is surprising when you consider that on his first start for the club, in a Johnstone's Paint Trophy clash with Bournemouth, he netted four goals.
He said: "To score four goals against Bournemouth was good, I was pleased with that performance. But since then my opportunities have been very limited, which you wouldn't really expect. But that's football."
Most players who find themselves out of favour will soon beat a path to their manager's door, desperate to know why they are being overlooked.
"The manager is the one that picks the team every week, so there isn't much to talk about," he said.
"Every decision he makes, he makes for the good of the team and I will stand by and respect that. The team have a great group of guys and a great feeling around it, so I wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardise that. I just have to wait for my opportunity to come and see what I can give. We will have to see what the future holds for me."
He could be forgiven for questioning whether or not he made the right choice in choosing Brentford, but Grella's patience is yet to snap.
He said: "I had some other options before I left Leeds, but for me Brentford was a no-brainer. It is a good club, the manager, what he has achieved in the game speaks for itself - he was a great goalscorer at Manchester City. I was expecting to have played more, though, at this stage so we will have to see what happens in the future.
"I am determined to make it here, especially in this country. I really believe that I can. I just need to work hard, get my head down and just do all the right things. I'm sure the rest will then take care of itself."
While determined to make it in England, could he be tempted to head home if things do not work out?
Grella said: "I would love to go back to the MLS one day. I think there were some talks back and forth about going back there, but it's not going to happen now. I am really determined to make it in this country. The culture for football is unbelievable. The fans have been tremendous. The culture around the country for football is amazing and I'm looking forward to experiencing more of it. I want to help Brentford have success and hopefully help myself."
Success at Brentford this season means promotion, with the club currently flying high in the third tier standings.
"They are doing very well and there is a great feeling around the club," said Grella.
"I don't want to jeopardise that and get in the way of that. But your success is judged on what you do on the pitch. I don't want to cause trouble, I'm the complete opposite of that. I have the utmost respect for Brentford and for the manager. I don't want to ruin anything so I just have to work hard. I need to play football and hopefully some point soon I will start playing games.
"I would love to stay here and see what my options are, but the bottom line as a player is that you want to play games. I believe in myself that I can do well if given the opportunities. We will see."
Grella has already experienced promotion out of League One once in his career, during his time with Leeds, but does he think Brentford have it in them to emulate that achievement?
"Absolutely I think they can," he said.
"It's tough in League One, but I think we can fight for a play-off spot. I think that would surprise a lot of people. The main aim is to get into the play-offs and then anything can happen from there. The mentality here is great so I think we can challenge for promotion."