Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says recruit Tom Rogic brings a lot to the table at his new A-League club.
Melbourne Victory are considering using kid gloves for playmaker Tom Rogic by starting the 21-year-old on the bench in his debut for the A-League club in Sunday’s clash with Sydney FC.
Rogic, on loan from Scottish club Celtic, is lacking match conditioning but has been telling Victory coach Kevin Muscat he’s ready to go.
However Muscat said on Friday he remained cautious.
“He’s a glass half-full person. He’s really positive,” Muscat told reporters.
“We have to monitor him and be responsible rather than just assume you can throw him in and ask him to play for 90 minutes, considering we know his background and training loads over the past two or three months.”
The ex-Central Coast Mariner withdrew from a Socceroos’ squad to face France and Canada in October 2013 because of a groin problem, but Muscat says Rogic is fine.
“He’s in very good health. He’s trained regularly for the last six-to-eight weeks without interruption,” Muscat said.
“But playing in games is a little bit different.
“We’ll take all that into consideration … whether he starts or he comes off the bench on Sunday.
“He’s a very talented footballer. He certainly adds something to the squad.
“We’ve got to be mindful as well he hasn’t played too much football (lately) so we’ve got respect his body.”
Fourth-placed Victory host eighth-placed Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium.
Muscat said last week’s 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Wellington Phoenix didn’t sit well with him, but the club simply had to move on.
Victory’s squad for Sunday includes Connor Pain, Nick Ansell, Scott Galloway and Jason Geria, all returning from international duty.
Two-time former champions Victory have been shaded in the publicity stakes this week by Melbourne Heart, who’ve been bought by a consortium headed by Manchester City.
Muscat says the deal is great for the league and can only boost Melbourne derbies.
“That club’s certainly going to change. They’ll build up bigger,” Muscat said.
“From our perspective we’ll just carry on and maintain our football club steadily and not worry too much about what’s happening across the road.
“It’s not certainly our intention to stand still.
“I’ve no doubt we’re in a healthy position.”
The Victory announced this week they had signed Brisbane Roar striker and A-League championship winner Besart Berisha on a two-season deal from 2014-15.