Milligan: Saudis speak 'unbelievably' about Bert Van Marwijk

The Australian midfielder is excited about the new national team coach after hearing good things in Saudi Arabia

After departing Melbourne Victory for Saudi Arabian outfit Al Ahli in late January, Australian midfielder Mark Milligan has inadvertently gained some precious insight into new Socceroos boss Bert Van Marwijk.

The 32-year-old's mid-season transfer to the Middle East quickly followed the announcement of the 65-year-old Dutchman as green-and-gold coach.

Van Marwijk’s previous job was in charge of Saudi Arabia, leading the nation to World Cup qualification before the two parted ways because of differences relating to preparation for Russia.

While the abrupt end to his reign as national team coach wasn’t without controversy, the 65-year-old is still looked on generously in the region - having also led the Netherlands to a World Cup final in 2010 and winning a UEFA Cup with Feyenoord in 2002.

"I think it was very important we (Australia) appointed a coach with such a reputation,” Milligan told The Asian Game podcast.

"I’ve been fortunate over the last few weeks in Saudi to hear just how highly they speak of him.

"They speak unbelievably about him and obviously what he’s achieved with all his teams and at World Cup level too.

"I think it was important not only we had a coach of his experience but a coach with his sort of successes.”

Mark Milligan Australia Socceroos Asian Cup 2015

With 64 caps to his name but just one World Cup game under his belt, Milligan is desperate to impress van Marwijk leading up to this year's showpiece tournament..

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"It's very exciting times for us with the national team," he said. 

"We spent four good years under Ange and under a new coach it’s always a little bit nerve-wracking I guess to see what he does and what he does in terms of which players and I just want to make sure I’m a part of that.

"Hopefully in the next few months leading to that, I can keep playing well with Saudi team and hopefully that translates into national team time."

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