Melbourne City star David Williams has no doubt new recruit Damien Duff will have just as big an impact on the Hyundai A-League as marquee stars Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono.
The ex-English Premier League winger is one of a number of big-name signings for City who is assembling a star-studded squad under coach John van ‘t Schip.
Spanish whiz David Villa – who is on a 10-game guest stint - and international marquee Robert Koren have generated most of the headlines on agreeing to play Down Under.
But Williams believes Duff’s acquisition is just as big and says he has the drive and ability to take the league by storm.
“Damien’s been great. He’s a true professional and he just wants to show everyone he can still play football at the age he is,” Williams told www.footballaustralia.com.au.
“He might not always last the 90 minutes but he knows the time that he does get he’ll be on the ball and doing everything he can to help the team.
“He’s a good guy, he’s witty, good with the group and has fit in from day one. He’s got a lot of knowledge and advice to give.
“He’s all about the team and you can’t see any selfish part of him. He’s very focused, he’s not coming to Australia for a holiday, he’s here to play football.”
The 35-year-old former Irish international has settled into the new-look City set-up quickly, having joined up with the squad on their recent trip to Manchester.
Duff is still finding his way back to full fitness after an injury-riddled season with Fulham last year but Williams has seen enough to know the quality he has.
It’s why he is certain he can be just as effective in the A-League as the likes of Del Piero and Ono before him.
“I think so, especially from the performances he put on in England,” Williams said.
“He’d admit himself he’s not the sharpest just yet, only joining in team training with us once we got to Manchester. He’s knows he’s still got a bit to improve but he’ll have a massive impact.
“You don’t play at Chelsea for the years he did, Fulham and Blackburn if you’re not a good player.
“To be as good as he is, the amount of caps for his national team as well he just brings a whole package. We are lucky to have him.”
Despite being bundled out of the Westfield FFA Cup by Sydney FC on Tuesday night, Williams is confident City are on the right track for the new season.
He says their trip to Manchester – where they used the EPL champions state of the art facilities – sparked a big improvement in the group.
“We played some attractive football and once we get fitter, we’ll get sharper and hopefully score more goals,” Williams said.
“It’s exciting to be offered those facilities and offered a chance like that. To be flown over by Etihad and the way the treated us was amazing.
“The club’s in a very, very good position and it’s a no-excuse culture and mentality now which is brilliant and they are giving us everything we need to be successful. It’s up to us players now to turn it into results.”
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