Caltex Socceroos boss impressed by “interesting” Hyundai A-League talent

Caltex Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk says he saw some “interesting players” during his first scouting mission of the talent in the Hyundai A-League over the weekend.

After his appointment as the new Australian coach last month, van Marwijk watched three Hyundai A-League matches in rebel Play Football Round, as well as the the FOXTEL Y-League Grand Final.

It’s the start of a hectic period of scouting for the Dutchman over the next seven weeks before his first two matches in charge, friendlies against Norway and Colombia in March.

Asked about possible selections for the crucial pre-FIFA World Cup friendlies next month, van Marwijk said while playing time is crucial for squad hopefuls, performances are the key.

“The most important thing is quality. It’s important that players play but there are always exceptions,” van Marwijk said on Fox Sports’ The A-League Hour on Monday night.

“The most important thing for me now is to learn the players and see them and that’s not easy, because we don’t have a lot of time.

“It’s only seven weeks before our first friendly game against Norway. In the seven weeks I want to see all the players, as many as possible.

“I’m happy that I’ve already seen four games here. That was interesting for me. I saw a few interesting players. Now when I go [to Europe] we start to organise and see more players.”

In a wide-ranging interview, van Marwijk spoke about the process of how he was appointed as Caltex Socceroos boss, as well as some of the lessons he has learned in a 20-year managerial career.

Bert van Marwijk

He also touched on how he builds relationships with his players, and said it was vital to strike the right balance and not being afraid to make the hard calls.

“The most important thing is that you are yourself,” the 65-year-old said.

“You must not be afraid to make decisions. [Maybe] decisions that are not so good for the players. But on the other side you must also have the freedom to laugh with the players.

“I don’t like coaches who have only distance. And it is not good also when you are too close. You have to have distance but I can also laugh with the players.”