Australian national team coach Graham Arnold has told Celtic fans exactly what they want to hear ahead of the new cinch Premiership season; claiming that loveable boss Ange Postecoglou will be able to extract the best out of new signing Aaron Mooy as the Hoops embark on another trophy-laden season.
The star, 31, joined Celtic on a free transfer from Shanghai SIPG earlier this week as he aimed to make a return to Scottish football after 12 years – where he starred for St. Mirren in the then-Scottish Premier League before returning to his home land.
Having competed in the English Premier League over 100 times, he will bring a wealth of experience – although Celtic fans were unconvinced that he would be able to replicate that form on the pitch at Paradise.
Yet Arnold, who evidently has a superb grasp of Mooy’s talent having worked with him as the Australian national team manager since the 2018 World Cup, believes that Ange will be able to get the best out of Aaron ahead of the new campaign.
“We all know that Ange will get the best out of Aaron, and get him fit and ready,” Arnold said via The Age.
“It’s just great that he’s going to a club where they’re playing in the Champions League, and he’s going to get plenty of match minutes up there. Obviously they’re a good team, Celtic, and he’ll have his work cut out to get him in the starting XI, of course.
“But the fact that he’s going to be playing a lot of football before the World Cup is a relief for myself and, no doubt, all the Socceroo fans back here in Australia to know that Aaron’s got his club future sorted out.
“He knows what to expect with Ange and Ange knows his game. Instead of a new player walking into a new club with a new coach who doesn’t really know his mindset and his character and qualities that well – it can take time for that new coach to get to know him.
“But he’s walking in on the other side of it, where the coach is very familiar with him, knows exactly what he’s getting.”
Arnold saw the positives on his side, too; with Mooy getting three months of top-flight and European football under his belt, the midfield maestro knows that he will be in top fitness and form ahead of the Qatar World Cup which begins in November.
“With better fitness, with more match rhythm, and under Ange, I expect that when he walks into Qatar he’ll be the leader that we need on the field.”
With Tom Rogic having departed the club on a free transfer this summer, Hoops fans will be hoping that the club will barely notice the loss of their star man from Down Under with an almost carbon-copy of a player for no fee.
But whether he steps up to the plate is a different question – and with Reo Hatate and Matthew O’Riley in a similar boat, there is of course competition up for grabs.