Melbourne City fans are buzzing following the signing of veteran midfielder Robert Koren as the club’s new international marquee.
While Koren may not have a big name or reputation in Australia, his pedigree at club and international level speaks for itself. To get a better sense of the player City fans can look forward to watching this season, I’ve interviewed prominent Hull City blogger Rick Skelton, who edits the ‘From Boothferry to Wembley’ blog and had the pleasure of watching the former Slovenian captain terrorise opposing midfields and defences for four years with the Tigers. You can follow Rick on Twitter @HullCityLive.
Me: What did you make of Koren's time at Hull City? What are your lasting memories of him?
Rick: I loved Robert Koren. He came to Hull in 2010 on the back of our relegation from the Premier League when money was tight, the squad was small and signings were rare. No-one else in his position, especially having just played and scored at the World Cup, would have come into that situation. He took a while to get going but once he did he became a leading figure in the team, being the guy who could make something happen out of very little.
He scored a terrific last minute winner against Watford in 11/12, which was probably his finest season with us, scored a fabulous volley in a defeat at Cardiff that season and chipped in with a priceless winner at Ipswich on the way to promotion in 12/13. But the abiding memory most Hull City fans will have of him is his winning goal against Leicester in 11/12. It was a real grudge match as the Leicester manager Nigel Pearson had left Hull acrimoniously a month earlier. With the scores level and 90 minutes on the clock Koren stepped up and buried a winning goal with his left foot from 20 yards. It was magnificent.
What are Koren's major strengths?
His long range shooting is what sets him apart. He's accurate with both feet from outside the area. He also has the knack of arriving in the box from deep at just the right time. He's a fine passer too.
And his weaknesses?
He's a luxury player. He generally doesn't like to do the dirty work without possession and he's not the sort of player you should expect it from. He can roll his sleeves up but it doesn't come naturally.
Koren turns 34 this year... has he shown any signs of slowing down?
He's still a very fit guy but he doesn't quite have the change of pace he had when he was a key figure at West Brom. He's in such tremendous shape though, I think he'll play at a good level for at least another 2 or 3 years.
In one sentence, what can Melbourne City and its fans expect from Koren in his first season down under?
Goals. He'll get at least six from midfield every season and some will be spectacular.
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