Roar focused on team, not star names
Forget the superstars and focus on the team. That’s the message coming from the Brisbane Roar ahead of their bid to win an unprecedented A-League three-peat.
All the talk ahead of the league’s kick-off next weekend has been the arrivals of Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey as well as new club Western Sydney Wanderers’ attempts to land ex-Germany captain Michael Ballack.
Through it all Brisbane have quietly gone about their preparations, focusing on maintaining the core of the squad which delivered back-to-back titles in the past two years.
And goalkeeper Michael Theo says the collective spirit within the Roar has been one of the keys to their success.
“That’s been one of our strengths,” said Theo, who changed his last name from Theoklitos in August.
“There’s no so-called superstars … there’s no one big player, we all work hard and we’ve got a humble bunch of guys.
“We’ve maintained that and kept that philosophy of not bringing in any so-called big stars.”
Instead of World Cup winners and former English Premier League stars, the Roar will once again look towards journeyman Albanian Besart Berisha, Brazilian Henrique and German playmaker Thomas Broich to play a leading role in their title defence.
But Theo said observers are wrong if they think the Roar have just stood still while their rivals land big names.
“I suppose we’ve flown under the radar a little bit but, in saying that, we’ve strengthened well with Ben Halloran and (Korean under-20 international) Do (Dong-Hyun) coming into the squad,” he said.
“Where I suppose we’ve maintained our strength is in keeping the core there.”
Theo says the arrival of Del Piero and Heskey has got players throughout the competition licking their lips at challenging themselves against such big names.
He said the signings were a huge endorsement of the league and football in Australia.
“It’s great the other sides are strengthening their squads with world class players, not just great for them but great for the league in general,” he said.
“Once Alessandro signed, you saw the knock-on effect with Emile signing for the Jets and there’s talk the Wanderers might sign Ballack. That’s great.
“Two months ago you probably wouldn’t have thought that was possible, that the A-League would bring those types of players to our shores.
“Hopefully it instigates many more moves from the big leagues in Europe to come and play in Australia and as a player it’s great, you want to test yourself against the best in the world. It’s a brilliant thing.”© AAP 2013
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