Melbourne Victory’s Kruse emerges as shock Asian Cup candidate

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick believes Robbie Kruse’s emergence as one of the A-League’s best strikers is due to the player’s diligence.

Kruse came to Melbourne in September last year with plenty of question marks hovering above him after a tumultuous time with Brisbane Roar but has matured into more than just a very promising talent.

The 22-year old has netted 10 goals in 13 appearances this season, giving him the lead in the race for the Golden Boot, and is now a darkhorse to make Holger Osieck’s Socceroos squad for next month’s Asian Cup.

Merrick admits Kruse’s form is at a premium standard at present but has distanced himself directly from turning the fortunes of the much-improved player around.

“I’d like to take the credit, but I can’t. The credit is his and there’s a whole bunch of coaching staff and support people behind him that have got him to where he is. It’s a real credit to him,” Merrick said.

“I’m also discovering he’s quite coachable… and he’s learnt to play a couple of different positions. I could understand why (Socceroos coach Osieck would) be interested the way he’s playing.”

Kruse himself added that an Australian call-up was something he had not even entertained and at the moment he is content doing his thing with the Victory.

“I’ve never thought about (the Asian Cup). I’m just happy playing for Melbourne Victory and doing my job for the team and doing what the coaches want me to do. I’m playing with some great players and getting some great service and hopefully it can keep coming,” Kruse said.

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