Behich ready for next step

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip has predicted his in-form left back Aziz Behich soon could be ready for 'higher honours' after another outstanding performance in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar.

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip has predicted his in-form left back Aziz Behich soon could be ready for 'higher honours' after another outstanding performance in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar.

Behich has been close to Heart's best player in each of the past three matches, which have all been played within the space of six days at AAMI Park.

He is already a key member of the Olyroos squad which is attempting to qualify for the London Olympics and van 't Schip believed he could soon be ready to be considered for the Socceroos, who have a lack of depth at left back at the moment.

"Aziz is progressing and developing and every time making steps," the Heart coach said.

"The effort that we get for him is great, we ask for him to make those (attacking) runs and we give him all the freedom he needs. He's making big steps."

"I think the things he is working on now is his scoring and assists and I think that's something he can improve on to make some really good steps towards higher."

Behich's marauding runs down the left and discipline and hard work in defence have caught the eye this season and with national coach Holger Osieck looking to consider his depth ahead of the 2014 World Cup, he could find himself on the German's radar.

However, van't Schip said he wouldn't be pushing Behich to be considered for next month's World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia in Melbourne and felt there were aspects he needed to work on.

"I'm happy with how Aziz is progressing, but he knows there are areas he needs to keep on working on. His positioning, in one-on-one, he is ok, but in positioning. He is still having some problems there," he said.

"He has to remain focused and you can't get ahead of yourself. Especially when you are only 21. There are a lot of things you have to improve and stability is one of them and living your profession."

"If you want to get there to the Socceroos, he is on a good way to get there, but it's up to him and of course, the coach to select him if he sees there is future for him, but I feel he can make that step."

The player himself is not getting caught up with any hype surrounding his future and is still very much focussed on the things he needs to improve on, including his shooting after missing several good chances against the Roar.

"I'm firstly a defender, so I try to work on my defensive part of the game and take it step by step going forward," he said.

"If you get your positioning right, you can always get forward. That's the first thing you focus on the game, your defensive job and then getting forward when we have the board."

Talk of a possible call-up by Holger Osieck doesn't concern the 21-year-old, who wants to maintain his focus on what he can achieve with his club.

"I'm just focusing on playing here, keeping my consistency playing in the team week-in, week-out, giving everything I have and improving every week," he said.