Heart's Engelaar eager to tackle the 'unknown' A-League

Telling it like it is, the ex-Netherlands international says Australia's top flight has a low profile in Europe, but he's nevertheless keen to make his mark on the competition

Melbourne Heart's straight-talking new marquee Orlando Engelaar says he made up his own mind about moving to the 'unknown' A-League.

The 33-year-old brings a considerable pedigree with him to Australia, having played for PSV Eindhoven, Twente and Schalke, as well as anchoring the Netherlands' midfield at Euro 2008.

The next link in a proud Dutch tradition at Melbourne's newest club, Engelaar said he did not consult countrymen and former Heart players Gerald Sibon and Rutger Worm before making the switch.

And he also claimed the club's newly restored links with ex-coach John van 't Schip did not have a bearing on his decision.

"I didn't know a lot about the A-League," he said.

"It's an unknown competition [in Europe], so I had to learn about it.

"Of course I would love to listen to what John van 't Schip has to say but it didn't really make any difference before [signing].

One man Engelaar did consult was new Heart team-mate Rob Wielaert, who he played alongside at Twente, but even that relationship was not the determining factor.

"I spoke to Robbie Wielaert, who I played with a couple of years back and what he told me was very positive," he said.

"It helped a bit. If he had said, 'don't come here because it's shit', then maybe I would have had some second thoughts," he joked.

"It wasn't a decision-maker. I would want to make the decision myself on the way I feel, the way it looks and that's what 90 percent of my decision was based on."

It seems the biggest motivation for Engelaar in joining Heart was his capacity to influence proceedings on and off the field, with big things expected from the seasoned professional.

"I've got a lot of responsibility with the team, to help the guys, so I want to do well," he said.

"When Melbourne Heart came in they intrigued me with what they wanted, so I wanted to be a part of that.

"They showed me they really wanted me, they made me see I could be important in areas for the other boys and bring something extra to the team. That's what really excited me, I wanted to be a part of that."

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