Socceroos winger Mathew Leckie - with 10 years experience in Germany under his belt - has told Stuttgart-bound Alou Kuol “don’t be star-struck”, as the prodigy prepares to embark on his own Bundesliga journey.
Acutely aware of what it takes to straddle the challenges and meet the demands of elite European football, Leckie shares the same agent as the Central Coast Mariners marksman, Melbourne-based John Grimaud.
And he’s happy to offer the 19-year-old A-League sensation a slice of the wisdom accumulated over his years at
Borussia Mönchengladbach, FSV Frankfurt, Ingolstadt 04 and now Hertha Berlin.
Kuol’s entrance on a multi-year six-figure deal will coincide with Leckie’s exit, with the 30-year-old flier off-contract at season’s end and looking for new territories to conquer.
But he’ll be taking a keen interest in how Kuol’s story unfolds.
“It’s important not to be star-struck and have the confidence to show yourself and do your thing,” said Leckie.
“The Germans like to work hard and have the mentality of work rate and respect - most Australians have that in them anyway.
“There’s not to be nervous just because you’re at a Bundesliga club.
“The respect will come if you perform on the pitch.
“And the only way you can do that is you’re open and free and play your natural game, rather than hiding away.”
Leckie has yet to speak personally Kuol, but can probably expect a text or phone call soon from the ebullient and extrovert youngster, who has struck seven goals in 17 appearances for the ladder leaders - 13 of those off the bench.
“I don’t really know Alou personally, or what his mentality is or how he behaves as a person,” added Leckie.
“But I would just say keep doing what you’ve been doing for Central Coast.
“Alou hasn’t started every game but when he comes on he tends to score and does really well.
“He’s joining a club who are in a very good place at the moment.
“When I first came to Germany they were a bit up and down but they’ve found some real stability now.
“He’s going somewhere that will really help him develop because he’ll be able to learn a lot from the quality players they have there already.”