Toronto FC's director of player development Paul Mariner has urged Julian de Guzman to heighten the quality of his performances in 2012.

The Reds' Designated Player has been below par since arriving at BMO Field in September 2009 and Mariner has indicated that he will have to perform this season in order to earn a new contract with his current deal expiring at season's end.

"Being really simplistic, I think (negotiations) are always ongoing," Mariner told the Toronto Sun.

"There are always discussions about what we'll do with the composition of the team. But I'm sure it will polarize after the June window shuts.

"You're honest, forthright and you say the things that need to be picked up to achieve the contract or you offer them another deal. It's not different for anybody else. Just because you've got a DP behind the name it doesn't mean anything to us. We just want (Julian) to perform to the best of his ability.

"(Julian) is one of the leaders of the group and as a (designated player) you're held to higher standards," he added.

"He's got the best part of 10 months left and there's a lot of (soccer) that has got to be played. If he has got another one, two, four, five years left in his legs … we'll try and keep him at the club as long as possible."

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