Colosimo toughs his way back

Melbourne Heart skipper Simon Colosimo ranks his recent absence from the team as one of the toughest moments of his long professional career but believes he has returned from his exile more capable of playing the style of football that coach John van 't Schip demands of him.

Melbourne Heart skipper Simon Colosimo ranks his recent absence from the team as one of the toughest moments of his long professional career but believes he has returned from his exile more capable of playing the style of football that coach John van 't Schip demands of him.

Colosimo has been in and out of the Heart line-up for much of the past two months due to a combination of injuries and form, with van 't Schip surprisingly preferring to use Matt Thompson in a makeshift central defensive role.

The reigning Joe Marston Medallist, who was expected to be a permanent fixture in van 't Schip's plan, has instead had to go back to the drawing board and prove himself all over again and admitted that represented one of the toughest challenges he has faced as a footballer.

"It's the hardest period of my career, no doubt. You can miss World Cups and miss selection for this and that, but to do this, and miss out on the week in, week out is tough, but it teaches you a lot of things too," he said.

"I've applied myself differently. I haven't questioned myself. I know I can do the job, but it's a case of showing that I can."

Colosimo was given a chance to remind van 't Schip of what he has to offer in Saturday's 0-0 draw against his former team, Sydney FC. He performed with aplomb, winning the head-to-head battle with Alex Brosque and pulling off what proved a match-saving goal-line clearance in the first half.

While he felt he had done what was required of him, Colosimo said no player in the team could afford to feel safe.

"I think everyone of us have to prove a point every week. If there's one thing we've seen here at Melbourne Heart it is that if anyone plays well, they keep their spot. We've seen it pretty much for the start of season," he said.

"Adrian Zahra is one of them, he keeps playing because he keeps doing what's asked of him. It's a case of everyone looking over their shoulder. I think that's why everyone is going out, like we did tonight. We gave everything because we know that as a team we want to achieve and get results and as individuals we need to keep our positions."

Van 't Schip's preference for playing Thompson, who usually plays as a midfielder, is based on his desire to play the ball out from the back. Colosimo respects that decision and says it is an example of the emphasis of team over the individual.

"I don't think the coach was trying to make a point (by leaving him out). I got injured in Brisbane and the team started doing well. It was just one of those things. It's like anyone, Rutger (Worm) has been missing for two or three games, whoever plays in his spot if they do well, it's another headache for the coach," he said.

Colosimo's former team-mate Brosque admitted he had been surprised by the Heart skipper's extended period on the outer, but backed the character and ability of the veteran defender to win his spot back permanently.

"Simon's a good player and tonight he came in and did very well. The thing is they have a lot of depth and a lot of good players. Thommo has been playing excellent at centre half, so it's been hard for him to get back in," Brosque said.

Thompson is due back from suspension for next week's game against Gold Coast United but a groin injury to Josip Skoko and a suspension to Wayne Srhoj will see him most likely return to a midfield role, allowing Colosimo to retain his place.