Sydney's returning King has a point to prove

·2-min read

The cutthroat nature of European soccer has handed Joel King a new-found drive as the Sydney FC left-back looks to steer the Sky Blues to the A-League Men grand final.

King left Sydney in last year's January transfer window, fresh off winning his debut Socceroos cap.

He joined Danish club Odense Boldklub on a two-and-a-half-year deal, but by the end of 2022 the club couldn't guarantee him the playing time he wanted.

The defender asked about exploring his options, and when Sydney coach Steve Corica called, the 22-year-old jumped at the chance to return home on a loan deal until the end of this season.

"They (OB) said, 'We like this other boy more than you'," King told AAP, ahead of Friday's semi-final with Melbourne City.

"It's not a good feeling - you want to be overseas playing, and initially I was playing a lot.

"I had high expectations of doing well, but things changed and the coach ended up preferring (other) people to me, which is fair enough.

"It's a big step up and to come back it does feel like a backward step, but my priority was game time.

"It's much better to take a step backwards rather than sit over there on the bench and do nothing but train.

"My goal has been to get game time and prove to the coaches over there that I'm good enough."

King's fall out of first-team football in Denmark also cost him his place in the Socceroos squad, after he was called up by Graham Arnold for the World Cup in Qatar.

"As I started to not get any game time, I started to stress about that," King said.

"It's about focusing on my club football - you can't expect to be there if you're not playing club football."

King is eager to bounce back from his first foray into Europe, and the chance to go back there with a trophy is an enticing prospect.

To get there he will have to beat a City side containing rising left-back Jordan Bos, who superseded him in March and was called up for Australia's friendlies against Ecuador.

"He's a phenomenal player, he's physical and he's fast," King said of Bos.

"He's got very high potential and I'm sure there are lots of clubs looking at him and I'm excited to see what he does in the future.

"City are a team full of stars, so it's going to be very difficult, but I think we can be confident that we can compete with them."