Ange: new Mariners boss 'his own man'

Ange Postecoglou believes coaches like new Central Coast boss Paul Okon will help to continually improve the Hyundai A-League with their football philosophies and knowledge.

The Caltex Socceroos coach pushed for Okon to be handed the reigns at the Mariners after Tony Walmsley was sacked in August. 

Okon served his apprenticeship as coach of the Australian Under-20s for the last four-and-a-half years and feels he's ready to move into club football.

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He joins the likes of Brisbane Roar’s John Aloisi, Melbourne Victory’s Kevin Muscat and Scott Miller at the Newcastle Jets as young Aussie coaches in the Hyundai A-League, which excites Postecoglou.

“I want the level of football here to improve,” the Caltex Socceroos boss said.

“I've worked closely with Paulo for the last few years and he can get his team to play in a certain way in really tough international conditions when you only have limited time.

“Working with players day in, day out I'm sure he'll be able to get his point across and I think it is exciting. The more teams we have trying to play good positive football will benefit the game.

“I’m rapped he's got it and I think the Central Coast have made a really good decision. I have no doubt he'll make a good fist of it.”

Ange Postecoglou

Postecoglou feels Okon’s experience in coaching national youth sides will give him an advantage when trying to entice some of the best young players in the country to play for the Mariners.

Drawing on his own experience moving from the youth set-up to Brisbane Roar, Postecoglou admitted it gave him a better understanding of which players would be the right fit at his club.

“I found when I got out of my stint as youth coach, one of the greatest strengths I had was that I knew just about every young player in Australia between a certain age,” he said.

“Not just as players but people. I was able to use that when recruiting at Brisbane and Victory, and I use it now.

“I had Mile Jedinak as a 17-year-old, so when I'm thinking about first selecting a captain for this squad, that information helps. I'm sure it'll help Paulo.”

In his first press conference as Mariners boss, Okon said he hoped to have a similar impact at the Mariners as Postecoglou did when he took over at Brisbane Roar back in 2009.

But Postecoglou said it wouldn’t be right to draw parallels between the two.

“You can't do what I did at Brisbane because I'm a unique coach and it was a unique case,” he said.

“Paulo's no clone of anyone, he's his own man. Just because coaches have similar philosophies doesn't mean they're the same.

“I wouldn't have done at other clubs what I did at Brisbane - there I did what I thought needed to be done. It's not about a step-by-step guide to success - he'll have his own challenges and his own solutions.”