Central Coast will not alter their approach in order to quell Alessandro Del Piero when the Sydney FC star visits Gosford on Saturday.
The Italian World Cup winner has lived up to all the hype early in the A-League season after three goals in his first four games, including a wonderful free-kick against the Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 3.
Mariners coach Graham Arnold sincerely hopes the Juventus legend will line up at Bluetongue Stadium but denied any extra attention would be paid to him.
“I hope he plays. We want to play against him and I expect our boys to rise even more,” Arnold said.
“It’s a wonderful occasion to have him coming to Gosford, but we’ll play our normal game.
“We know he’s a fantastic player and we’ll keep a close eye on him but there won’t be one player that will have a role of man marking him at all.
“It will just be about doing what we do best and doing it right.
“It’s more than just about Del Piero. It’s about Central Coast Mariners and the way we play.
“But it’s great that we are having such a world football star such as Del Piero coming up here to the Central Coast and I appeal to all the Central Coast supporters to get there because it may be the only time you see him at Bluetongue Stadium.”
Aside from Del Piero, Arnold stressed the presence of the Mariners’ own foreign stars in Michael McGlinchey, Nick Montgomery and Patrick Zwaanswijk, the latter of which he described as the A-League’s most successful import.
“I think there’s only one other person to have done what Del Piero’s doing in Australia and that’s David Beckham (in the MLS),” he said.
“But we’ve got our own 37-year-old in Patrick, who in my view has been the best and most consistent foreigner that’s come to the A-League.
“He’s been great since he came here and I expect him to be the same on the weekend. And I know Patrick is even looking forward to playing against Del Piero.”
Playmaker Tom Rogic could miss the clash for the Mariners after knocks he picked up against Melbourne Heart last Sunday and Arnold said more needed to be done to protect his teen star, who is the most fouled player in the league.
“Tommy (Rogic) is the only Australian number 10 in the whole league and the stats are showing that he’s getting fouled more than Del Piero but nothing is being done about it,” he said.
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