'It's what the league needs' - Milicic relishing Macarthur challenge

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Building a football club from the ground up is a complex operation at the best of times - let alone in the middle of a global pandemic.

But that's exactly what Ante Milicic is doing.

After finishing up with the Matildas last month, Milicic's focus is now solely as Macarthur FC coach ahead of their inaugural A-League season.

"COVID-19 changed the dynamics of a lot of things - not only for me personally but also for the league and for the football club," Milicic said.

"(Building a club is) always a unique challenge... there's a lot to it.

"But I think that's the exciting part as well - you get to build something from the start and you really have an input into the foundation of the club."

Macarthur is Milicic's third involvement with a start-up club, and he has leaned on his experiences at Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney.

The 46-year-old surrounded himself with trusted staff - assistant Ivan Jolic and analyst Kate Cohen among them - then recruited players he considered a good fit, like Mark Milligan, Adam Federici and Tommy Oar.

"I've been very selective with the players that I bring into the football club but also the characters," Milicic said.

"With Millsy and Fedders, COVID-19 played a part in that because they were playing in England and with the way the situation expanded in the UK and where they were at their particular clubs at that time, with families.

"So in some ways we got lucky there but I've worked with them both before and I know what they bring to a football club - so that's very important.

"The young ones can definitely learn from them and at the same time... they're committed to continuously challenging themselves and our team to grow, to learn, to improve and they're the kind of people that you want to build your club around."

After coming second to John Aloisi in the race to coach Heart in 2012, Milicic now takes on his first A-League senior coaching role with a breadth of experience.

That includes working as Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos assistant, then as Olyroos and Young Socceroos coach before the Matildas role.

"You learn a lot through your experiences - both internationally and domestically - and in the end I think it shapes you as a coach," Milicic said.

"I'm very confident with my football upbringing and the education that I've had and the people that I surround myself with.

"So this job's come at the right time for me."

Milicic's positive, possession-based playing style is one he believes can succeed at Macarthur, who are keen to make an early impact out of Campbelltown.

"I wouldn't want to put a limit on any positioning in the table or start making any sort of predictions," he said.

"It's important that we get the foundation right and that we are competitive.

"We're very, very happy with the home ground that we have and I think that region is really looking for a professional club to be based in that area.

"So I think it's going to be great for us and it's what the league needs and I'm looking forward to putting together a competitive side."

Source AAP