Colosimo Backs Skoko To Impress

Melbourne Heart FC Captain Simon Colosimo believes former Socceroo Josip Skoko will be able to transition seamlessly into the Hyundai A-League after a gallant debut performance.

Melbourne Heart FC Captain Simon Colosimo believes former Socceroo Josip Skoko will be able to transition seamlessly into the Hyundai A-League after a gallant debut performance.

Having completed a three-year stint in the English Premier League, Colosimo said the physicality of the Hyundai A-League poses few problems for Skoko, who is renowned for his skill and finesse in the midfield.

"Josip played in the English Premier League, that's physical enough," Colosimo said. "I don't think you have to explain to a professional footballer that it's physical. It goes without saying.

"Everyone who comes in knows that the first thing you have to match in any league, you have to do the physical stuff then the football comes in.

"I think Josip, we counted his tackles, and he made 10 winning tackles on Thursday night against the Mariners.”

Arriving in Melbourne midway through July, Skoko has endured a hectic introduction to Australian football, but remains on track to reach peak fitness in the coming weeks.

Head Coach John van ‘t Schip revealed he was wary of risking Skoko for the full 90 minutes against the Mariners, saying it is crucial to take a measured approach during the opening rounds of the season.

“Josip is not yet fully fit, but we will have to deal with that. We want to play possession football, taking control of the ball from the defence and he forms an important component in this style of football,” he said.

“He contributed very well for over an hour on Thursday night, but we didn-t want to push him. We have 29 games and we need Josip for the rest of the season as well. If we lost him now, maybe in the last 20 minutes because we left him on the pitch that would not be a good thing.”

With the full squad only assembled for the last three weeks, van ‘t Schip has faced a race against time to prepare his side for its first ever Hyundai A-League season.

But van ‘t Schip is confident the side will be able to maintain its learning curve and continue to develop as a unit as the season progresses.

“For only three weeks we've had the squad complete together,” he said. “The Mariners game really highlighted the team still has a few weeks to go to really gel and to get physically 100 per cent.”