Ange says he won’t poach Aussies for Japan
ANGE Postecoglou has signalled that he has no immediate plans to bring Australian players to his new role at Yokohama F Marinos, insistent that the chance to work with Japanese talent was one of the "biggest enticements" to taking on the job.
Having begun pre-season with Yokohama, Postecoglou said his immediate aim was to "stamp his authority" on the team's mentality, explaining the attacking style he wants to implement.
Describing working for the City Football Group as "uncharted territory", Postecoglou said he had no plans to change the ultra-attacking style that has defined him as a coach.
Postecoglou joined Yokohama last month after his shock resignation from the Australian national team, despite overseeing qualification for the World Cup.
"That is one aspect, and already we've got Milos Degenek who's been involved in the national team," Postecoglou told CityTV of the prospect of signing players he coached with the Socceroos.
"With the Asian rule there's always the possibility of bringing in Australian players. But the game is global now, and it's about bringing the best players to the club we can, being plugged in to the CFG and its scouting network in Japan.
"One of the biggest enticements for me was the opportunity to work with Japanese players, I rate them very highly. They're known for talented players and the chance to work with that, and maybe improve them to a level where they can play at a top level overseas, that's exciting.
"I've travelled to Japan and played against them, and there's some really exciting possibilities. Those are the sort of things that excite you as a manager, and it's a platform for the kind of team we want to create."
Postecoglou has begun pre-season with his team, after spending time in Manchester observing the work of Pep Guardiola, and laid out his immediate priorities.
"Starting in pre-season is an advantage, from day one we can stamp our authority on how things will be done," he said.
"You can explain to the players and staff the journey we're embarking on. The squad is settled so there's not a great deal of work to be done there, and that will help us to bed in quite quickly.
"The main thing is talking about the type of team we want to be and the type of football we want to be known for.
"I have pretty firm ideas about how the game should be played and the methodology around that. That's what we'll tackle first and I've had success because of that."
Though the City Football Group is a minority shareholder in Yokohama it runs the football operations, a resource Postecoglou said he had already begun to utilize.
"It's uncharted territory what the CFG is trying to achieve, and it's a case of trying to figure out how that fits with how you work. Having spent some time here there's a major advantage in the more detailed work that's normally impossible in club land where the focus is week to week.
"(CFG is a) body with the time to look in a broad sense and give you the relevant information. I thrive on information so having access to that is a huge advantage."
Back in full training six weeks ahead of schedule, O'Donovan is champing at the bit to resume his productive season, having scored seven times before injury struck.
Tearing his groin against Perth in December, the Irishman was slated to be out for up to three months. But after six weeks of physio, Merrick said O'Donovan wanted to be involved against Melbourne City on Thursday night as the Jets bid to maintain their grip on second place.
"Roy is driving me nuts," Merrick said. "He's so keen to play on Thursday, but I'll speak to the physio.
"It'll come down to a medical decision but I don't think he's ready until he trains very hard for a full week.
"I noticed that when I went over to watch his four-on-four session he was running hard and scoring goals. It's great to see, probably six weeks ahead of where he should be. I like him pushing hard for a position but I'd like to see him train for a full week."
Even putting O'Donovan on ice, Merrick will have an embarrassment of riches to deploy against City, whose 5-0 defeat of Adelaide on Sunday brought them to within four points of the Jets.
"It's good to know that Ben Kanterovaki is fully fit now, while Joe Champness is back (from international duty) and ready to go. Jack Duncan is fully over his injury; Glen Moss isn't 100% so will be on the bench but I doubt he'll play.
"(New signing) Riley McGree will be joining us and will be involved in training tomorrow, and Nick Cowburn is back.
"So we have a pretty fresh line-up, which is just what we need at this time with a short turnaround and the number of games we've had.
"If we needed to I'd have no trouble putting Riley in. I've had a look at a lot of his videos and watched him play for the (Australian) U23s, he's my type of player. He can play a No 6 or No 8, exactly what we need. But he'll have to earn his spot, and will probably be on the bench."