Perth Glory star Diego Castro will be even more valuable for the A-League club after a full pre-season, according to football director Jacob Burns.
Castro, 35, signed a one-year extension with Perth last month, the superstar midfielder set for a fourth season at the club.
Unlike previously, the Spanish playmaker is set to join his Glory team-mates from the start of pre-season on Monday in a huge boost to Tony Popovic's men.
Burns believes that will only help Perth, who have been led by the 2015-16 Johnny Warren Medallist since his arrival.
"'Cas' is a very unique player, he's been a legacy player for us and still has fantastic football in him," he told Omnisport.
"I think it was a very important one for us as a club, for Popa as manager, to have him back for a full pre-season. I think that's something that in the past we haven't had, we haven't had him at the very start.
"He's a fit, professional guy and he always looks after himself, but I think it's going to have even more value him starting day one with the group, being in all the pre-season, through the FFA Cup games, and we've got some exciting games coming up, including Chelsea here on July 23."
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Glory are looking for an improved campaign after finishing eighth and missing the finals last season.
The arrival of former Western Sydney Wanderers coach Popovic – who won the AFC Champions League in 2014 – has already given them a boost.
"I think first and foremost he [Popovic] has been successful, he's taken a start-up club to the AFC Champions League and won it in the first season and he's been involved in finals," Burns said.
"It's his professionalism and his winning mentality I think that players want to come and play for. They know it's not easy but they know they're going to be a better player for it .
"The general consensus in and amongst football circles is that yes, it's going to be a tough time when you're working under him, but it's one that I think everyone embraces."
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