Socceroos coach who helped Ronaldo bloom takes Arzani under his wing

Daniel Arzani in action for FC Utrecht Source: Getty Images

Dutchman Rene Meulensteen - widely credited for helping fast-track the future of Cristiano Ronaldo when both were at Manchester United - is seeking to play a similar role in Daniel Arzani’s development.

The Socceroos assistant flew from his Manchester base to the Netherlands last week to watch the Australia winger make his Eredivisie debut for FC Utrecht.

And he later sat down with the gifted 21-year-old to help him map out the path ahead, as he recalibrates his stalled career after two years in the injury wilderness at Celtic.

Meulensteen liked what he saw as Australia’s youngest ever FIFA World Cup representative carved an impressive 22-minute cameo off the bench in Utrecht’s 1-1 draw with VVV-Venlo.

He expects Arzani to be starting soon for John van den Brom’s side, but counselled him not to let the high expectations of others scramble his mental circuitry.

“Danny’s at an important point in his career and I went to see how he’s settling in and if there’s anything I can help him with,” said Graham Arnold’s right hand man.

“I told him it’s vitally important not to put himself under too much stress or pressure regarding high expectations.

“What’s most crucial is to enjoy his football, stay fit and get minutes on the clock.

“Some players can be too anxious and eager to do well and build up a subconscious resistance which they then have to overcome.

“But if you let it go, and let it happen, things will flow. Young players sometimes find that hard to understand.

“That’s why I wanted to see Danny and explain that he needs to adopt a certain mindset.”

Assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford for six years and involved in four Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League triumph, Meulensteen spent significant one-on-one time helping a budding Ronaldo bloom.

His philosophy with Arzani centres on ignoring the hype which has followed him since his breakthrough at Melbourne City and subsequent move to Manchester City and onto Celtic.

“You don’t have to prove to the whole world why Manchester City got you out of Australia - forget it,” was Meulensteen’s message.

“You just need to prove to yourself how good a player you are, and you know how good you are.

“You need to enjoy this beautiful job you have in football, and things will come. Don’t worry about it.

“Bit by bit, everything you want to achieve will happen because you have those strengths and qualities.”

Meulensteen describes the Eredivisie, where his own son Melle plays for RKC Waalwijk, as "the perfect league” at this point in Arzani’s career.

“All the teams try and play football and coaches like players like Danny who are versatile and love to take players on,” he explained.

“He’ll enjoy his time there - and he’ll make a name for himself for the right reasons. Not just because he was signed by Man City - forget all that.

“It’s the minutes on the pitch and the impact you have that makes all the difference.

“He has this confidence in himself - he’s not the tallest but he’s strong and he’s explosive and has a phenomenal shot on him.

“Obviously he can’t neglect the defensive side of the game - that’s important to any manager.

“That’s something every player needs to concentrate on because if it’s not part of their game it’s something which can cost them a place in the team.”

Meulensteen will have another reason to chart Arzani’s progress this weekend, with FC Utrecht up against 21-year-old Melle’s RKC in the second game of the new Eredivisie season.

Source SBS The World Game