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PLAY IT SHORT (A-LEAGUE): Van Egmond's revolution, Postecoglou's marquee management, ooh that 20%

VAN EGMOND'S WAY THE NEXT PHASE IN A-LEAGUE Amazed by the pressing of Gary van Egmond's Jets on Saturday night. At some stages, they had no less than FIVE players in the Melbourne half with Victory having the ball. Van Egmond has spoken about getting his players fitter to meet his system's demands. If he succeeds, he'll take the A-League to a new level. If the local footballer can match the work-rate of the athletes of the AFL we'll be getting closer to the end-to-end, thrill-a-minute stuff we see from England every week.The great irony is that the soccer elites, thanks to their blessed Barcelona, are now backing the pressing off the ball Van Egmond is pushing, when only a couple of years ago they were looking down their noses at the same very thought.

HEART! WHY NOT POUR SAME RESOURCES INTO FINDING MARQUEE?It didn't quite work, did it? Less than 3,000 fans at Morwell will be disappointing for Heart management, who were banking on 4,000-plus - at the very least. This column really wonders about how realistic all the moaning from the soccer elites about 'connecting to the community' really is. If there was any serious credence to it, wouldn't SBS soccer be a rating powerhouse after 30 years of trying? Rather than spending so much time and money reaching out to the grassroots, where would Heart be now if they had poured the same resources into uncovering that ideal marquee signing?

CLUBS COULD DO WITH THAT 20%Maybe Heart management are correct, however? The grassroots perhaps is worth tapping into - if it's actually there. This column wonders if A-League clubs could do with that 20 per cent the players are demanding they keep to invest in 'connecting with the community'?

INMAN GETTING BACK TO REACHING POTENTIAL AT TOONGreat to hear Brad Inman turn in a super performance for Newcastle United reserves last week. The Adelaide kid went missing last season after generating plenty of expectation with Toon in the Championship. A year on - and with his contract soon to enter its final six months - Inman is getting back to his best. A talented, box-to-box midfielder, Inman is on Scotland coach Craig Levein's radar. But nothing is yet set in stone.

EX-PLAYERS SHOULD TAKE LAWRIE LEADFantastic to see Lawrie McKinna continue his coaching career in China. After a spell with Chengdu Blades, the former Central Coast Mariners boss is returning to China to take charge of Second Division Chongqing Lifan. You just hope that in the near future some of these ex-players queuing up for A-League coaching jobs actually have the stones to back themselves and use their profile to kickstart their careers in Asia. Rather than tapping their ex-teammates in the media about how they're back from Europe and 'not getting a go' in the A-League, they'd do better getting serious and taking a chance in Asia.

ANG, THERE'S A SKILL IN MANAGING A MARQUEEInteresting reading from Ang Postecoglou about his foreign players and lack of a marquee signing. This column has always thought Brisbane Roar lacked that little bit of gold dust to turn the buzz around their unbeaten run into also a record run at the gate and on the TV. That didn't happen. Postecogclou should acknowledge that there's also a management skill in identifying a marquee player, convincing him to come to Australia and helping him produce. It's been virtually written out of A-League history, but Dwight Yorke joined Sydney FC from the subs' bench at Birmingham City. In a year, he'd not only a hatful of trophies, he'd led Trinidad & Tobago to the World Cup, been selected in the World Cup Allstar XI and won a move back to England at Sunderland - all as an A-League player. And all benefiting from A-League management.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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