Moss ready to step into Theo's shoes

Melbourne Victory's new No.1 goalkeeper Glen Moss is relishing the pressure of stepping into the giant shoes of Michael Theoklitos and wants to better the deeds of the dual-championship winning stopper.

Melbourne Victory's new No.1 goalkeeper Glen Moss is relishing the pressure of stepping into the giant shoes of Michael Theoklitos and wants to better the deeds of the dual-championship winning stopper.

With Theoklitos off to play in English League One with Norwich, Moss and Mitchell Langerak have been locked in a pre-season battle for the goalkeeping spot in the defending champions' side. It's a battle which Moss, the former Wellington Phoenix and current New Zealand goalkeeper, has won for now and he will start in the season-opener against Central Coast next Thursday.

Moss was given no guarantees when he arrived at the club and there was a sense that highly-rated youngster Langerak would be hard to dislodge given the regard he was held in by the Victory.

"I knew that right from the start. There were no mind games or anything like that. Ernie (Merrick) said we want you here but you have to fight for your spot. I can't guarantee anything. I think that's the case with most of the boys here, they do have to fight for their spots, because the squad's so strong," Moss told Sportal.

"Young Mitch is a great goalkeeper, probably the best I've seen at that age, 19 or 20. Working with a young quality keeper is only going to make my game better as well."

Moss has relished the competition with Langerak over the past few months and has also enjoyed working with goalkeeping coach Steve Mautone as a means of improving his game.

"It's the nature of the beast as keepers, because there's two, sometimes three of you, and there's only that one position. It's good because it keeps you on your toes and makes sure that every session you are training your hardest and keeping sharp and you look around the Hyundai A-League and every club has got two good keepers," he said.

"I knew when I came here, Michael (Theoklitos) hadn't left yet, but whether he stayed or not, was not really in my mindset. Ernie sold it to me, as the way the club was set-up and then professionalism and obviously how successful it's been. Steve Mautone, the full-time goalkeeping coach. I believe he can really help my game. I actually didn't have a full-time goalkeeping coach at Wellington. I thought to myself I have to get out of my comfort zone. I could have stayed there and probably have been the No.1 and sat there, but not really improve. It's great here."

And while Theoklitos was a legend to the Victory faithful, Moss believes he can fill his shoes and command the same respect in the terraces as his predecessor

"Being a goalkeeper, pressure is nothing new to me. It's something I deal with every training session, every game. I'm right up for it, I love it. Michael did a great job for the club, but I'm looking to do an even better job. He's been so successful and I can definitely see myself in two years time being as successful," he said.

When it became apparent that Theoklitos would be leaving the club, Merrick and his men were on the lookout for an experienced and composed keeper who Langerak could continue to learn from and who would provide the youngster with stiff competition. Moss, who had performed well against the club, was one of the first on their radar.

"We spotted Glen early on. He was outstanding every time we played against him. With goalkeepers, technically ability … is vital. But it doesn't matter if you've got all those and you haven't got the composure and the personality and the inner confidence to let the back four know that you're here and everything is fine, then you're in trouble," Merrick said.

"If a goalkeeper ever looks shaky, you're in trouble. That's why most goalkeepers get to their best late on in their late 20s and early 30s. If Glen hadn't have been available, we would have been happy for Mitch to be our No.1 goalkeeper. The only difference between the two of them is that maturity and experience."

"You can't have two up and coming goalkeepers, you have to have experience there. Experience as goalkeeper is about organising the defence in front of you."

The defence in front of Moss is one of the most highly-respected in the competition. Rody Vargas and Kevin Muscat have been crucial to both Melbourne's championships over the past three years and Moss is enjoying having them on his side.

"It-s a great feeling to be in behind them instead of against them. The way Kevin organises the game, and the way he is a natural-born leader. I didn't really know too much about the boys until I came here. Just picking up on the training field the way Musky leads the team and organises and really is the backbone of the side. It's going to be a pleasure playing with such quality players," he said.