Degenek tells Arzani to forget the headlines and put in the hard work

Daniel Arzani has been advised by fellow Socceroo Milos Degenek not to believe the headlines and the hype as he prepares to join Celtic on loan from Manchester City.

As exclusively revealed by The World Game yesterday, the Melbourne City wonderkid is bound for parent club Manchester City for a nominal fee - believed to be $500,000 - and plans to immediately loan him to the Hoops are well advanced.

PSV Eindhoven were also an option but multiple reports in Scotland suggest that a two-season loan deal to join Australia teammate Tom Rogic in Glasgow has been all but been agreed, with the option to buy after that.


But new Red Star Belgrade recruit Degenek provided some timely advice to his 2018 FIFA World Cup teammate as he packs his bags for the UK, insisting he has to up his work rate to achieve his potential.

“It’s not about just getting your name in the papers and thinking that you’re a good player,” said Degenek of the 19-year-old who has been feted feverishly as Australian football’s brightest young bauble.

“You have to work hard and sacrifice a lot because talent isn’t always enough.

“When Daniel was in camp with the Socceroos (at and before the World Cup) he had a lot of great information and a lot players to learn from and was always with Timmy (Cahill) and he was always helping him out.

“There’s nothing much better that can happen to him other than that.

“Mile (Jedinak) was always on to him telling him what to do and that, so I think he’s had the right people around the national team helping him out.”

Degenek emphasised though that there can be no shortcuts on the sweat-soaked journey to the top.

“He’s (Arzani) a good player ... a player for the future. He knows how good he is, I guess,” he said.

“But he has a very long way to go and a lot work to do to be at a good level.

“To realise his full potential, I think he has to work a lot harder than he does now. He has the ability to be one of the best players.

“He is still young and he needs to take a lot of advice from people who have been there in his situation and have done a lot of things that he hasn’t. If he does that he will fine.”

Degenek, 24, didn’t play in Russia, while Arzani impressed in the three cameos off the bench.

But that didn’t stop Degenek sealing a return to Europe as he cut ties with his former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou at Yokohama F.Marinos.

Degenek - who holds joint Australian and Serbian nationality - has made a flying start, with two of his three appearances so far coming in UEFA Champions League qualifiers, with Red Star winning all three games he’s been involved in without conceding a goal.

Explaining the three-season deal, the formerly German-based Degenek said: “It was mainly about getting myself back into Europe were you have a lot more chance to move around to bigger clubs in better leagues and fulfill your dreams.

“Also being able to play Champions League qualifiers is a big thing and a huge attraction.

“It wasn’t a hard decision, it was really simple for me. I made my mind up very quickly where I wanted to go.

“After the World Cup I came to Serbia and ended up staying here without going back to Japan. And that was it pretty much.”

Though Yokohama have had a roller-coaster run thus far under Postecoglou’s fledgling reign, Degenek believes progress is being made.

“I think the club are on the right way,“ he said.

“They know what they’re doing, they know who the coach is.

“Obviously it takes a bit of time with Ange, but I think they are a good chance to settle in and to have a good year.

“If not this year then then certainly a good successful year next year.

“They are doing things right and we will have to see what happens.”

Though Degenek was overlooked by Bert van Marwijk for game time in Russia, he has no recriminations.

“Of course I was a bit disappointed with that,“ Degenek said.

“But then again it’s not something you can have much of an influence on.

“The coach has his own ideas and principles and he does what he does.

“You’re just there to support the team as best you can.

“While I didn’t play I was fortunate to go to the World Cup. There are positives and negatives but I prefer to look at the positives.

“I’m still young and hopefully I have at least another two World Cups in me.

“I just have to play well here and keep myself in the national team to set up.”

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5 min read
Published 26 July 2018 at 12:39pm
By Dave Lewis