Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold declared Shane Smeltz is “going nowhere” after the veteran striker helped salvage the Sky Blues a 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
The Kiwi international came off the bench to and scored a brace to see the home equalize twice in a pulsating clash in front of more than 17,000 fans at Allianz Stadium.
Smeltz, who now has 82 Hyundai A-League goals to his name, was this week reportedly the subject of a big-money offer to join a club in Malaysia.
But after watching his “super-sub” deliver against Victory, Arnold is desperate to hold on to the prolific marksman.
“He’s not going anywhere,” Arnold declared on Smeltz.
“We’ve done a lot of work with Smeltzy to get him where he is today fitness-wise and Smeltzy’s got a future at this club.
“I don’t want him to go anywhere.”
The Sky Blues made the perfect start against the in-form Victory, with marquee man Marc Janko putting them ahead from the penalty spot inside eight minutes.
The visitors struck twice in the space of seven minutes to lead 2-1 at the break before Smeltz got the first of his double after a controversial penalty decision.
Nick Ansell’s thumping header looked like it would be enough to give Victory all three points before Smeltz had the final say five minutes from the end.
“I thought we were outstanding besides 15 average minutes,” Arnold said.
“The first 30 minutes was all us. They scored two goals from transition and us giving the ball away…then the second half we played them off the field.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the performance but now they have to believe. If we work harder we can go a long way.
“We’ve played against the benchmark, I honestly believe they are the best team in the league and we’ve still got some new boys that are settling in a bit and we were outstanding.
“….The first 30 minutes was some of the best football I’ve seen in the A-League.”
Arnold revealed Janko had to be replaced midway through the second half with a toe injury but was confident he would be fine for next weekend’s clash with Central Coast Mariners.comments