Melbourne Heart FC Placing Emphasis On Character

Melbourne Heart FC GM of Football Operations John Didulica has emphasised the importance of signing players of strong character as the club continues its worldwide recruitment campaign.

Melbourne Heart FC GM of Football Operations John Didulica has emphasised the importance of signing players of strong character as the club continues its worldwide recruitment campaign.

The Hyundai A-League newcomers have announced five signings to date, including Clint Bolton and Matt Thompson, who recently earned selection to the Qantas Socceroos for its match against Indonesia.

But with the domestic season reaching a crescendo, Heart is set to step up its player search as the club seeks to finalise a portion of its inaugural squad ahead of pre-season training in late April.

Heart has established a number of key technical and physical criteria when scouting for potential talent, highlighting a need for players both with strong technical ability and good mobility, which has been reflected in the players signed so far.

Didulica said however that the club would also be looking beyond pure football ability when assessing the suitability of all recruits.

“Signing players who are also good people is critical for the club,” he said. “We don-t have a lot of lead in time so we don-t have much opportunity to build a club culture. We need a bunch of professionals who are keen to hit the ground running.

“It-s why we-ve recruited guys like Clint Bolton, Dean Heffernan, Kristian Sarkies, Jason Hoffman and Matt Thompson who are tremendous professionals and athletes who will do what it takes to win matches of football in the way John wants.”

Following Head Coach John van ‘t Schip-s well publicised scouting trip through Europe, Heart has identified a number of key targets to fill the club-s allowed quota of foreign stars, which currently sits at five.

However, as a result of the vagaries of the European transfer market, their availability is likely to be uncertain until the end of the current season in May.

Didulica though expects Heart to have a full squad at its disposal by mid-June, allowing van ‘t Schip and his assistants, Jesper Olsen and Ante Milicic to have ample time to integrate the club philosophy.

“We hope to finalise the playing list sooner rather than later. I think we want to have the entire squad in place by that first training date in mid to early June after our local stars return from their break,” he said.

“Whether we announce those players or sign them up in advance of that date we-re not sure as the European market will be very fluid around May and June with so many players coming off contract.

“So we don-t want to lock ourselves into too many deals right now so we can see how the market goes then.”

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