It might look as if Ange Postecoglou is going back to the future – in more ways than one – with his capture of Kiwi international forward Kosta Barbarouses.
It is, of course, the second time in a couple of years that the Melbourne Victory coach has signed the nuggety New Zealander.
Postecoglou threw Barbarouses a lifeline in 2010 when the then Brisbane Roar coach plucked him from Wellington Phoenix, where he emerged as a teenager but played only 21 games in two years. The youngster became an important goalscorer for the Queensland club as it took its first A-League title.
Now he has linked with him again after two character-forming years for Barbarouses in Europe, first with Russian club Alania Vladikavkaz and then on a year’s loan with Greek giant Panathinaikos.
Another young Kiwi player, Marco Rojas, starred under Postecoglou last year. He also came from Wellington and his career had stalled before Postecoglou wrought such a transformation that he finished last year’s campaign as A-League player of the year and with a move to Bundesliga club Stuttgart all wrapped up.
Postecoglou didn’t sign Rojas – his deal was inked in the final days of Ernie Merrick’s time at Victory – but the current Victory coach helped the youngster blossom. Victory fans hope he can work a similar effect on Barbarouses.
But don’t expect the latter to seamlessly fill the former’s boots.
”We are different sort of players, similar in some sort of degree. I play with a bit more directness. We both like to play quick football but in different ways,” Barbarouses said on Monday.
Postecoglou said: ”He’s more mature, he’s probably [had] some life experiences that have rounded him off … I think he looked a more mature player, which you would expect three years on.”
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