'I do believe in Australian players' - Rudan outlines vision for Western United

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Mark Rudan Western United
The new franchise's coach has made it clear that he will back local talent as he continues to build his squad

Western United coach Mark Rudan has made it clear he is keen to back Australian talent as he uses the new team's inaugural season to write the first chapter in the club's history.

The fledgling franchise, who were locked in to play Rudan's former club Wellington Phoenix in the first round of A-League fixtures released on Thursday, are happy with the make up of their squad but are still keen to add a goalscorer to the list.

But when asked if the new attacking addition would be Australian or foreign, Rudan outlined his policy to support local players and said he might not even fill out the team's foreign quota of players.

"I don’t look at players as foreign or non-foreign. At the end of the day they need to meet the pre-requisite, characteristics and profile of that type of player – that’s quite important for us. Whoever ticks the boxes, ticks the boxes," Rudan told Goal.

"We have signed three VISA players – I haven’t been in a rush to sign the five maximum. I may not even hit that number because I do believe in Australian players as well.

"Historically, you look at the A-League and how often has all five foreigners played all season. You only have to look back to last year’s grand final and that would have told you that is the case as well. And in the majority of the season they were able to do it with less than the five. So it’s not really a big deal. The right player is the right player irrespective of that person’s nationality."

Faced with the challenges of being involved in a start-up club, Rudan revealed the big focus on building a positive culture within the club from day one.

He also told of the positive results from the team's recent training camp on the Gold Coast - explaining the 'buy in' from the players on his ethos and values.

"We’ve got the ability to write a chapter in the club’s history and you’re right at the start – so I guess there is the opportunity to do the foreword of the book and also the first chapter. As a football coach, that’s extremely exciting," he said.

"When I came to the club and spoke to the people involved I was very big on the culture and making sure we get that right. We have been working extremely hard – particularly the last nine days up the Gold Coast – on those areas. There has been a really good buy in from the players. They understand they are in a privileged position as well to lay the platform in terms of club culture going forward.

"It’s really important we get the platform of this football club right. Then it makes it a little bit easier in the future because then players that you recruit have to buy in what our ethos and values are as a football club."

While Western United's squad is made up of young talent such as Sebastian Pasquali, Jonathan Aspropotamitis and Dylan Pierias, there are also several experienced players to help lead the team.

Rudan says the influence of players like Alessandro Diamanti on the younger players is a factor that cannot be underestimated.

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"We’ve got a very young side – that’s quite clear. You can see just how young these guys are. And they need some good experienced pros around them to ensure they get into good behaviours and habits day in day out," Rudan said. 

"We are trying to build, not just good footballers, but obviously good human beings at this club. The older players that we’ve got like Diamanti, [Panagiotis] Kone, [Scott] McDonald, [Ersan] Gulum and [Andrew] Durante are extremely important to this football club in its first year and for the young players."

Western United begin their A-League campaign in New Zealand against Wellington Phoenix on October 13 before a five-game stretch in Melbourne that sees them play against Perth Glory, Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory, Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets.