Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip has moved to silence the critics of Robbie Koren and says the marquee man is ready to produce his best form.
The ex-Hull City and West Brom midfielder was signed as City’s international marquee to much excitement ahead of the 2014-15 season.
Koren, 34, is the last man standing at City following their big-name off-season recruitments, with David Villa leaving after four games and Damien Duff sustaining a season-ending injury.
The Slovenian missed the first nine games of the season due to a calf injury, but netted a hat-trick on his starting debut in late December.
Despite that, there has been some criticism of Koren’s impact in his 13 games for the club, but City’s Dutch boss insisted he was only getting better.
“He’s been out a long time and if you’re having that kind of injury it interrupts your pre-season, it’s always difficult,” van ‘t Schip said.
“He feels now, that he’s strong physically and he understands the league.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are or how experienced, there’s always a time of adaption.
“One is quicker than the other. Looking at Robbie with his injuries, now he’s at the point of taking the team by the hand.”
Van ‘t Schip felt the performance of Koren in last week’s 1-0 win at Sydney FC was his best of the season.
“If you look at Robbie, the last few games, I’m very happy with what he’s bringing,” van ‘t Schip said.
“He’s giving the example on the pitch, working very hard, creating on the ball and giving us just that extra second of time so we can make a solution.”
City take on Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on Saturday night in a crucial clash in the battle to make the finals.comments