The 35-year old Dutch centre-half spent 11 seasons in his homeland plus two in Japan in a career that spans back to 1998 but says he cannot evaluate the current competition he plays in because it is far too young.
“You always compare with the best leagues in the world, but it’s not fair to compare this league with European leagues at the moment because it’s not that old; but you can see that it’s making progress,” he told Australian Football Weekly.
“What I’ve heard from a lot of players so far is that it’s the best year they’ve played in the A-League and it is climbing up again. The standards are quite high and compared to last year or even two years ago; it’s much improved.”
The former FC Utrecht and NAC Breda man has been a revelation for the Mariners this season and insists that plenty more foreigners are finding about the A-League and are looking forward to getting down under to experience both life and football on these shores.
“Foreign players are willing to play here who not only like the lifestyle, but the league itself,” he added.
“That’s an improvement for Australia already and if we continue doing this – getting good coaches in and getting the young players learning more about the football game, you can get a really good Australian squad.
“The A-League’s probably at around 80-85 per cent of the European leagues.”