A SPECIAL CHAPTER
I’ve played in Europe for a few years now and have witnessed first-hand the calibre of coaches operating over there. I have no doubt Arnie would excel at the highest level with what he possesses as a manager. I truly believe that. It’s exciting to see him given an opportunity at the highest level with the national team. I’m very optimistic about the success he will bring to our nation.
There’s a lot of excitement within the Socceroos camp. It feels like we’re all about to embark on a special chapter in our lives. That’s what the old Mariners crew were discussing over lunch.
We created some incredible memories together back in the Gosford days and we have the opportunity to do it again, starting with the Asian Cup.
It has been interesting to see how Arnie has evolved as a coach. The fundamentals and the principles are the same but there are also subtle upgrades. An example of that is the language he uses in the media and around the players.
In the past, he was slightly more passive in discussing success. He would say he ‘hoped’ we would win, or that good
things would happen ‘if’ we did certain things. He is more deliberate in the way he talks now. He has adopted a boxer’s mentality.
He doesn’t hope for success because he knows what it takes to be successful. There is a swagger, a confidence, in the way he speaks and the language he uses. He knows we have done the work and has confidence in us to deliver.
You see it at press conferences and the way he talks in and around the team. A little shift like that can make a big difference to team dynamics.
I’ve played in Europe for a few years now and my experiences tell me that Arnie has what it takes to be a top coach in the biggest leagues in the world.
Just as importantly, he still has a great manner with players. I remember making a mistake against Melbourne Heart in my first A-League season and I was pretty beat up about it. He didn’t rant or rave or threaten to drop me. Instead, he took me aside, broke down what happened and addressed what I needed to do so I would not make the same mistake again.
When you have a manager like that, it eases the pressure on you. You’re not tight or tense or afraid of making a mistake and that allows you to play to your full potential for your manager and team. A boss who backs you is a wonderful thing for any player, young or old.
Now the Socceroos are getting to experience that. The Mariners crew know how playing under Arnie accelerated our development as players and it’s great to see how the Australian boys have been responding to him since he took on the national job.
Arnie is the best coach I’ve had in my career up to now. I can’t wait to see how far we can go on the world stage under him.