Leroy George slams A-League standard as “not very high”, says players “booze all week”

By Vince Rugari, Vince Rugari is a Roar Guru

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    Leroy George looks set to follow Rhys Williams out the door at Melbourne Victory after the star attacker confirmed he was in negotiations with three rival clubs in a jaw-dropping interview with Dutch media.

    George took a pot-shot at the standard and structure of the A-League and went into great detail about how Victory players celebrated their grand final win earlier this year, lauding them for their “next level” approach to partying.

    The 31-year-old laid it all on the table in a wide-ranging, brutally honest and occasionally hilarious feature article with Vice Sports.

    George seemed surprised that Victory was even in championship contention after finishing the regular season in fourth place, 23 points behind premiers Sydney FC on the ladder – a perspective shared by many foreign players who are unfamiliar with Australia’s grand final tradition.

    “We had a week just partying. Crates of beer in the locker room… those teammates of mine have boozed all week,” he said.

    “What do those Australians is really next level. Those guys were in that week starting at ten o’clock in the morning to drink.

    “Man, they know how to party there.”

    George criticised the standard of the A-League as “not very high” but said he enjoyed his season with Victory and the relaxed Australian lifestyle.

    But it will likely be his last in Australia, revealing the club had not “fulfilled their commitments” to his agent by offering him improved financial terms to stay.

    George, who is in talks with other overseas clubs as well, said he would only return to the A-League if presented with a compelling financial offer to compensate from being “so far from home.”

    It’d be a bitter blow for Victory, who will also be without Williams next season after he was sold to Saudi Arabian club Al-Qadsiah on Thursday.

    Williams, 29, was contracted for another year but cannot be begrudged the opportunity to take up a Middle Eastern pay day after missing out on Australia’s World Cup squad as he moves towards the latter stages of a career that has been blighted by injuries.

    It leaves coach Kevin Muscat with plenty work to do on the recruitment front after the recent departures of Besart Berisha to Japan and James Donachie to South Korea.

    It’s understood Muscat is lining up former Victory stopper Nick Ansell to partner Thomas Deng in the centre of defence next season.

    Overseas reports also suggest Melbourne has signed Dutch midfielder Danny Holla, who spent last season at relegated Eredivisie side FC Twente.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • July 12th 2018 @ 5:01pm
      tommaso said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

      I think he summed it up perfectly – the A league is not a league where the players, the clubs and the governing body doesn’t take it seriously enough to make it a fully professional league. eg can you imagine tim cahill spending 1 week on the booze – I don’t think so !

      • July 13th 2018 @ 9:40am
        Fadida said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        Bollocks. Given he often failed to last a full game I think that he needs to look at himself first.

        One person says that the standard isn’t very good and fools like you jump in and criticse all clubs, players and FFA for not taking it seriously?

        Damien Duff said the conditioning was as good as anything he’d seen. I’ll stick with his view

        • July 13th 2018 @ 2:12pm
          tommaso said | July 13th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

          unfortunately the standard of the A league has been in decline every year since Duff left the scene and the governance of the league is an embarrasement – the truth hurts, the A League is becoming very ordinary and the public had stayed away

          • July 14th 2018 @ 9:39am
            Fadida said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

            Actually the standard is getting better

    • July 12th 2018 @ 7:01pm
      BrainsTrust said | July 12th 2018 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

      Well this clearly explains the terrible performances and decline in Berisha, Milligan and Troisi this season, and Valeri was below previous seasons. Then no doubt they sobered up for the finals aided by the Jets selling Nabbout won the title. The FFA needs to get Antonis out of MV before he is led up the wrong path.
      Milligan after the same sort of performance in friendlies improved at the world cup, he would have been closely watched at the world cup.
      Leroy George was noted for his poorworkrate, so why is he talking about professionalism, he never displayed any.
      MV were carried by Barbarouses and Antonis, otherwise they would have missed the finals.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 13th 2018 @ 1:28pm
        Eamon Stocker said | July 13th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

        I think this article is a little inaccurate. He wasn’t criticising MV players for ‘boozing all week’, and it certainly didn’t happen throughout the season. He was talking about AFTER the grand final. To say we were carried by Barbarouses and Antonis is ridiculous and frankly shows a lack of understanding – yes, Victory were lucky to win the championship, but that’s down to the A-League’s structure. Berisha was decent with 13 goals despite not having a creative force behind him, George was excellent with a bunch of assists and goals, while Deng, Williams and Donachie were brilliant in defense. George made a statement recently claiming that he never said the A-League was “not very high standard” anyway. I think all of this can be solved if the A-League transitions to a European structure. There’s barely any point in having finals in terms of TV revenue and crowd sizes because only really the grand-final sees a distinguishable increase in these, there should be at least 3 marquee player slots and the salary cap could be relaxed a little.

        • July 13th 2018 @ 8:56pm
          BrainsTrust said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

          With Antonis starting MV got more than half their regular season wins in 10 matches , their record over the other 17 would have seen them miss the finals. Could they have won three in a row in the finals without him.
          Its not The finals structure but when one team can bring in a top player for the final series and the other team loses one of their best.
          You say Leroy George was excellent, and at the same time Berisha had no creative force behind him thats a contradicition.
          Berisha had more easy chances this season than any other but missed so many it was embarassing.
          Berisha,Troisi and Milligan looked pretty odd during the season, and you think they only drank after the grand final.
          Deng and Donachie their distribution was poor, of the two I would go for Deng as a defender, Donachie he is better in the air but easily beaten on the ground.

          .

          • Roar Rookie

            July 14th 2018 @ 12:40pm
            Eamon Stocker said | July 14th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

            The fact that Victory got a lot of wins with Antonis doesn’t prove anything. He had a good season but I wouldn’t even put him in our best 3 (78% pass accuracy in midfield is decent, but only 1 goal and 3 assists in 17 starts isn’t anyhting exceptional).
            To say “its not the finals structure” is a bit silly because Victory would have finished 4th 20 points of the top of the league otherwise.
            Leroy George played on the wing either side of Berisha – so yes he had no creative force behind him and didn’t benefit from the same amount of opportunites he had in previous seasons – Troisi only picked up 4 assists with 69% pass accuracy.
            I’m not going to bother to respond to anybody accusing MV players of being drunk during the season.
            Deng was solid both in defense and on the ball, while Donachie – though he isn’t a Ball Playing defender, rarely gave the ball away and was always solid alongside Rhys Williams, with a few rare exceptions.
            Can I ask how many Victory matches you watched last year because it sounds like you only watched the semi-final? I understand people have different opinions but to claim Victory were carried by Antonis and Barbarouses is ridiculous. The truth is, MV simply didn’t play that well and were allowed a second chance in finals.

            • July 15th 2018 @ 10:49am
              BrainsTrust said | July 15th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

              The finals structure rewards the teams who finish in the top 2.
              Having a final series does leave the door open but what opened up was Newcastle sell off of Nabbout and bringing in the lazy foreigners, and Sydney’s difficulty with dealing with the ACL with Arnold not resting players with weak engines.
              Melbourne also had to deal with the ACL, the difference is they had Antonis and Barbarouses, these two have big engines and dont fatigue between matches. If they had retained Milligan on the other hand it would have been the end of the road if he was in the midfield.
              The one match Antonis was out MV shipped 6 goals in the ACL.
              I watched nearly all the matches, and the problem early in the season was while the attacking quartet even with the strange looking Troisi and Berisha were the best feature, the defensive midfielders were misfiring short passes, lacked in penatrating passes ,exhibited poor control under pressure, they weren’t lasting the matches and particularly Milligan was struggling big time unlike in previous years.
              Antonis fixed that, he had great control and a good engine. The reason his passing stats were at 78% is because he attempted a lot more penetrating longer forward passes.
              His error rate on normal passes was very low.
              Leroy George was rivalling Merjervski in attack, however he was also not doing his defensive duties a lot of the time and tired by the second half. Barbarouses was potent in attack but also pressure and tracked back up and was critical in that one of the midfielders would cover behind Leroy George knowing Barbarouses would always be tracking back. So thats how Antonis and Barbarouses carried MV. Leroy George carried the attack but he got carried in defence.
              I would bring back Ansell, Deng is young and already better than DOnachie so he can improve.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 16th 2018 @ 5:07pm
                Eamon Stocker said | July 16th 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

                But the fact that Sydney finish 14 points clear of second seems to hold no weight. Of course finals rewards the top 2 but the fact is, finals don’t always, and increasingly rarely lead to the best team winning. If there were 9 more matches in the league and no finals series do you honestly think Sydney would’ve lost the league – let alone Melbourne win it.
                Had Victory kept Milligan they would’ve had an extra Defensive Midfielder to rotate so they only would’ve been less tired. Plus his tireless performances for the socceroos prove that he has good stamina.
                It’s true our midfield at the start of the season was weak, but you were blaming our defenders so I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. As I said Antonis was solid, but for a Box-to-Box midfielder his goal/assist numbers weren’t anything exceptional.
                We certainly didn’t sign George for his defensive work or his work rate in general, he was signed for his technical ability and his work rate shouldn’t take away from his incredible efficiency on the ball. Barbarouses played on the opposite wing so to say he covered George isn’t correct – he did however, have a much better defensive work rate.

                The point I’m trying to make is that Victory were certainly not the best team in the A-League this season, but to say Barbarouses and Antonis carried the rest of the team when Berisha had the highest shot accuracy of any player that took over 20 shots (in the league), George was involved in 60% of all MV goals (more than any other player in the league) and Rhys Williams won 80% of contests is simply false.

    • July 12th 2018 @ 9:03pm
      MQ said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

      ” George seemed surprised that Victory was even in championship contention after finishing the regular season in fourth place, 23 points behind premiers Sydney FC on the ladder – a perspective shared by many foreign players who are unfamiliar with Australia’s grand final tradition. ”

      – WE’re different.

    • July 12th 2018 @ 9:08pm
      MQ said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

      With Torres having elected to play in the J-League, the FFA is now looking at other options for their $3 million marquee fund. Two players which top their wish list are Peter Crouch and Gabby Abonlahor.

      Both would be worthy additions to strengthen the A-League.

    • July 12th 2018 @ 11:27pm
      Roland said | July 12th 2018 @ 11:27pm | ! Report

      Is this the sort of culture that arrogant coach brings to this club. On the booze on finals week .wow. Great example this club sets for its supporters junior players and game in general . the FFA should be handing out massive fines to MV for bringing the game into disrepute .we are rewarding mediocrity with a ten team comp and a finals series .we need to be more professional or no marquee will ever come out and our national league willbe already is a laughing stock World wide .

    • July 13th 2018 @ 8:45am
      hogdriller said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      So he criticised the standard of the A-League as “not very high” ?

      It may be that level of standard that made him look better than he actually is?

      Stick to overseas mate, we dont need you.

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