New-look Adelaide still possess old spirit, says McGree
New era, old mentality at Adelaide United.
That’s the message from returning Red and Hyundai A-League star Riley McGree.
Hometown prodigy McGree has not pulled on the Adelaide jersey in over two years following his departure to Belgian giants Club Brugge, but the feeling from the 20-year-old is that he has never been away.
That is, even after an off-season of upheaval headlined by the departure of coach Marco Kurz, and of stars Isaias and Craig Goodwin.
“There’s a new coach, but the same mentality,” McGree said.
“There’s a few existing players from last season, they won trophies last season and made the finals so it’s the same mentality.
“We want to go as far as we can and finish as high as we can in all competitions.”
McGree, who began his Hyundai A-League career with the Reds in 2016, has returned to an Adelaide side now under the guidance of experienced Dutch operator Gertjan Verbeek.
The Gawler-born prospect believes the appointment of the former Eredivisie manager will have the Reds – who won the FFA Cup 2018 last season and were a penalty shootout victory away from the 2019 Grand Final - on track for more success.
So far, McGree has been impressed by the work ethic and directness of the 57-year-old from Deventer, Netherlands.
“The new boss is quite a hard task-master, but it’s good,” McGree said.
“He gets across what he wants and he’s really clear in what he wants.
“I think as a player you know where you stand and what you’re required to do, so it’s very good.
“When he’s required to be a bit more distant, he is... he’s quite firm in some ways, but then he’ll also make jokes and be around the boys which is a good balance, I think.
As far as Verbeek’s plans for McGree go this season, the versatile attacker says his role in the side is not set in stone.
“There’s nothing really in particular, I’m just going to do what I’m required to by the coach and how the team wants to play,” McGree said.
“I’ll just enjoy myself and have a good year with the team.”
McGree – who joined Club Brugge in 2017 but has spent the last two seasons on loan in the Hyundai A-League with Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City – is relishing the chance to play for his hometown club once more.
“It’s been good, I’m back in the home city I grew up in and the first professional team I played for,” McGree said.
“It’s always good to throw on the red shirt and play for my home city.”
Adelaide kick off the new season at home to reigning Champions Sydney FC on October 11, in what is a repeat fixture of the 2018/19 season opener, and indeed the last two FFA Cup Finals.
“It’s a big one - they’re the defending champions – so that should really show how good our pre-season was and where we are at."
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