Sydney’s Austrian is good for the league
HANDS up anyone who knew much about Marc Janko before he signed for Sydney FC at the end of July last year.
I have to admit I was one who had not tracked his career that closely, even though he was, and still is, the captain of the Austrian national team.
Janko arrived in Australia with a number of people singing his praises after a career which had seen him score goals at club level in his homeland, as well as the Netherlands, Portugal and Turkey.
His record at Red Bull Salzburg in Austria's top competition was exceptional, scoring 75 league goals in 108 games, including 39 in the 2008-09 season.
He was not quite as prolific in short spells at FC Twent in Holland, FC Porto in Portugal or Trabzonspor in Turkey
But with a record of 107 goals in 198 club matches it was perhaps no surprise looking back now that Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold brought in the big Austrian as his marquee man for this season.
It was still quite a gamble for Arnold as he would not have known whether Janko would work in to his team's style of play.
Let's face it, a big target man, such as Janko does not work for all teams.
The 32-year-old has proved he has got what it takes, however, after nabbing his 13th goal of the season in the 1-0 win over the hapless Newcastle Jets on Friday night. That strike put him two clear of Wellington
Phoenix star Nathan Burns in the race for the A-League's golden boot.
It was Janko's ninth goal in six games and his latest effort also equalled the A-League record set by Besart Berisha by scoring in six consecutive games.
Ironically he has the chance next Sunday to break the record when he comes up against Brisbane Roar, the team for whom Berisha set the mark.
Janko's international record is not bad either, with 17 goals in 40 matches for Austria.
His form has helped his country to a decent start to its European Championship qualifying campaign with a draw and three wins, including a fantastic success over Russia, putting the Austrians four points clear at the top of their group.
While he is obviously key to his country's success, it seems as though Janko also knows where his loyalties lie, after turning down the chance of playing in a friendly against Brazil to turn out for his club side in a match against Melbourne City in which he scored two goals.
I have said it before, but Janko is exactly the type of overseas player the A-League should be targeting - one who is still in his prime and still playing at the highest level for his country.
Let's hope for Sydney FC's sake it can secure the services of the powerful Austrian for another couple of years at least.