Socceroos Captain and PFA Executive Committee Member Mile Jedinak goes 1v1 with the PFA to discuss an outstanding 12 months, which has seen him lead the National Team to Asian Cup glory and Crystal Palace to a stellar finish in the Premier League.

Q. On the eve of this season your then coach Tony Pulis walked away from the club; how difficult was it to keep your focus considering the enormous impact he had had on Palace?

MJ: It was a massive shock and you don’t really expect that to happen but it was what it was. We had a game the next day and we couldn’t really dwell on it. I remember it so vividly we had Arsenal away and we gave a really good account of ourselves after what had been a really difficult 24 hours.

Q. In a situation like that do you feel more responsibility being captain of the club?

MJ: You don’t want any of this type of thing to happen but you have to stand up and think of others and make sure everyone is in the right frame of mind particularly going out for a game. It could have been easy to go into our shells but that is not the character of this group and we stuck together. We are a genuine bunch of boys who want to work hard for each other and we wanted to move the club forward.

Q. Tony would be replaced by Neil Warnock; unfortunately results were not as hoped and he would depart the club. Was this a particularly difficult time?

MJ: It was a difficult period and we didn’t get as many points and wins as we should of. It was a shame for Neil, you never want someone to have to leave the football club but the decision was made and we had to change things quickly because we were not sitting pretty at all and we very much in a relegation battle.

Q. At the height of that tough time, you would depart the club and join up with your Socceroos teammates for the Asian Cup. Was it difficult to come straight into another high-pressure environment?

MJ: That is what football is always like. The belief was always there that we could win the Asian Cup and that was our aim. Everything had been in preparation for winning the Asian Cup and we were constantly put in pressure situations against top European and Asian teams in the build-up and everything was really well thought out and everyone bought in to what we were trying to do. Everyone should be very proud of what we achieved.

Q. During that time Alan Pardew came in at Palace and made an immediate impact; did you get a sense that this was possible when he first arrived at the club?

MJ: I wasn’t there initially as I was with the Socceroos at the Asian Cup but I had spoken to the Gaffer on the phone and had a very good conversation with him. He is a very experienced Premier League manager and had had success and he knows what it means to play for Crystal Palace. The players said it was fantastic straight away. We have grown a lot as a group and it is only going to continue to grow and it is great to be part of that type of environment as a player as it is only going to improve you.

Q. It has now come to the end of the season. How do you look back on it?

MJ: It has been fantastic, it is something that I’m extremely proud of. To captain my country at a World Cup and Asian Cup was a dream and having another wonderful season for Palace is something that is really special.

Q. Finally, how do we ensure that Australian football continues to improve and that more of our players play at the very highest levels of the game?

MJ: In terms of young players we need to make sure they are educated and are gaining football knowledge as they grow up. For the current National Team players it is our responsibility to keep working hard to ensure we all improve and that is a big challenge that we will all embrace. We have a number of very important World Cup qualifiers coming up and we need to prepare for them and make sure we keep Australian football improving.

Each week the PFA will go with a member to gain an insight into lives of professional footballers on and off the pitch.