New Perth signing Darryl Lachman is keen to mentor the club’s young brigade as the Glory seek to break their A-League duck.
The Western Australian outfit have never won a grand final and the experienced defender, who has joined Perth on a two-year deal from Israeli side Hapoel Raanana, is out to help them change that record.
Amsterdam-born Lachman has had spells at PEC Zwolle, Groningen, Twente, Willem II and SC Cambuur, and made more than 190 appearances in the Eredivisie.
The centre-back has also earned 30 international caps for Curacao and played three times in the UEFA Europa League.
The 31-year-old debuted for the Glory in the Asian Champions League recently and with the club possessing a promising clutch of young talent, like Joshua Rawlins, Mason Tatafu and Bryce Bafford, Lachman wants to help them learn the ropes.
“I’ve already spoken to the young players,” Lachman told The World Game.
“Some of them look a little bit older than the ones in Holland. In Holland you see directly who are the younger ones. Except for Josh Rawlins, you could see he was young.
“But apart from him the other ones look mature. They don’t make a lot of jokes, they’re serious about what they’re doing. They’ve got one goal – they want to be in the A-League – and they want to do everything for that.”
Perth failed to make it out of their Asian Champions League group, finishing bottom, but did manage a 3-3 draw with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
Before Qatar, Lachman’s last competitive hit-out came in June in Israel, and the defender admits he needs to build his match-fitness back up.
“They were good games, tough games as well,” he said.
“But it was pre-season, especially for me, because I didn’t train since June. So I need to get back to my fitness again, compared to the lads who had been in training before that.
“In the beginning it was really hard for me and (being) directly in Qatar with the weather there, it was hard to get my fitness right where it was before.
"So I was fighting with my mind as well, because I need to get back to where I was five months ago.
“But obviously that takes a long time to get back to that. I need to give myself some time to get fit. The weather here will be a big difference for me.
“But when we play with Curacao, they also play in hot weather, but I will get used to it pretty quickly. I don’t think that will be a problem.”
More than 30 Dutchmen have played in the A-League in the past 15 years, including former Eredivisie opponents like Sydney FC midfielder Siem De Jong and ex-teammates such as Mariners midfielder Tom Hiariej.
With Curacao currently coached by ex-Socceroos boss Guus Hiddink, and teammates of the Caribbean national team currently including ex-A-League players like Roly Bonevacia and Guyon Fernandez, Lachman has plenty of links to the Australian competition.
He was also a teammate of Socceroo Trent Sainsbury at PEC Zwolle, the same club where he was briefly coached by former Melbourne City boss John van’t Schip and Michael Valkanis.
But the defender concedes he knew little about the A-League before touching down in Western Australia.
“I didn’t think about the A-League that much,” he said.
“I know some of the Dutch players like Siem de Jong went to the A-League, Tommy Hiariej went to the A-League. But apart from that you don’t hear that much because of the time difference.
“So for me it’s all new. I played against Roly, he’s also now a teammate at Curacao. And I played with Guyon Fernandez at PEC Zwolle.
“When Trent came at Zwolle I was injured, then when I was fit again he was injured. And then I left PEC Zwolle to FC Twente, so I never played with him. I don’t know him that much.”
The Glory last reached the grand final in 2019 and Lachman wants Perth to be challenging for titles this season.
“I think the grand final is the target,” he said.
“To be fair, I haven’t spoken to Richard yet about that because we’re in quarantine. But I think, what I’ve heard from the boys, they want to of course go for the title and to win as many games as possible, and to see what the league is going to bring.”