Socceroos coach Bert Van Marwijk will observe ‘s local talent in A-League games this week.When Bert van Marwijk takes his whirlwind World Cup scouting mission to the A-League this weekend, he will have with him a list of names for consideration.
But he won’t be checking it twice – or even once, for that matter.
For just as the newly appointed Dutchman is staunch in his resolve to take to Russia in the manner he chooses, he’s also adamant no outside forces will sway who he selects to get on the plane.
Van Marwijk is insistent on observing ‘s local talent with a completely clean slate when he takes in three NSW-based matches and watches the other two on TV.
He already carries a decent knowledge of the Socceroos’ core squad through his time as Saudi Arabia coach facing Ange Postecoglou’s side in their Asian World Cup qualifying group.
The focus, therefore, is potential bolters to test out in March’s friendlies against Norway and Colombia.
Van Marwijk’s excursion starts at Allianz Stadium on Friday night for Sydney FC’s home clash with Wellington, where Alex Wilkinson, Josh Brillante and Luke Wilkshire can all stake their claim for recall.
After that, Rhys Williams (Melbourne Victory), Dimi Petratos (Newcastle Jets), Danny De Silva (Central Coast) and Daniel Arzani (Melbourne City) are among the others set to mount their case in front of the coach before he takes the recruitment operation back to Europe.
Two men who will provide input are his two Dutch assistants, Roel Coumans and Taco van den Velde.
The pair have been by van Marwijk’s side since he stepped off the plane in Sydney on Thursday morning, having served under him at Saudi Arabia and followed him to .
They will accompany the 65-year-old to Allianz, then Newcastle for the Jets’ tie with Melbourne Victory on Saturday and finally Gosford for Central Coast’s meeting with Western Sydney on Sunday.
Coumans is an assistant coach with a physiotherapy and sports science background who has previously been van Marwijk’s assistant at Bundesliga outfit Hamburger SV.
Van den Velde is an all-rounder who looks after organisation, schedules, press and logistics, and is described by van Marwijk as ‘The Glue’.
It’s understood the duo, along with van Marwijk’s assistant and son-in-law Mark van Bommel, came as a package deal, which meant one extra assistant than usual in the national team set-up, alongside mainstay Ante Milicic.