Coolen: Culina is the best

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen has labelled Gold Coast captain Jason Culina as the best player in the Hyundai A-League and he knows firsthand of his brilliance having coached the Qantas Socceroo at Dutch first division club FC Twente.

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen has labelled Gold Coast captain Jason Culina as the best player in the Hyundai A-League and he knows firsthand of his brilliance having coached the Qantas Socceroo at Dutch first division club FC Twente.

Culina played 38 times and scored 12 goals in one season under Coolen at FC Twente, before making a hugely successful transfer to Dutch giant PSV Eindhoven.

The Reds boss acknowledged it will be almost mission impossible to try contain Culina for 90 minutes or mark him out of Friday night's contest with the midfielder covering so much ground, constantly demanding the ball and being given a license to roam free by coach Miron Bleiberg.

Coolen conceded United are better off focussing on the star-studded Gold Coast as a unit rather than just Culina and stick to the game plan that has served them so well this season.

"He's probably the best player in the league," he said.

"I know him well personally and he's also a dangerous player when he is close to the striker. But he does more than that and he asks for the ball everywhere. It's one of the things that's hard to defend against because you can't put player on someone who is all over the pitch."

"We've spoken about that and we have to take decisions about how we handle that. He's just one player, but a real important player, as I said he's probably the best player in the league."

"We have to be careful but it's hard to stop him personally and just one player. We have to play against a real good team and Jason Culina is one of them."

Coolen admitted the Culina is the type of player every coach would like to have in their squad, but said it is highly unlikely the GCU No.10 would ever join the Reds with Adelaide United expecting to bolster their squad in the January transfer window.

"He's the kind of player every coach would like to have in their team," he said.

"But we're definitely not going to have him here with us. He's good where he is now, he has a long contract. It's not easy to get a player like that in your squad but of course every coach wants have a player in your squad like him."

While Culina may not be an option for the Reds, Coolen did express his delight with the imminent signing of Brazilian pocket rocket Cassio who is expected to sign a contract on Thursday in a deal that will keep him at the club until 2013.

Coolen admitted re-signing the Reds star was the top priority when Adelaide United's new owners took over earlier this month, before signalling his intent to secure the other players coming out of contract.

"When the new owners came, one of the players I told them about was Cassio," he said.

"It will be okay, that's what I hope he will sign during the day and it's a good thing for the club. We've had discussions already with all the players and now we can start to have a second or third moment to speak with them and find out if we can keep them."