Montgomery welcomes Luis Garcia to Mariners

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The fight for redemption has begun at the Central Coast Mariners who have enlisted marquee man Luis Garcia as their leading light for the remainder of the A-League season.

Signing the former Liverpool hero caught football fans by surprise but the Mariners, who sit comfortably at the bottom of the ladder, have a bucketload of reasons. Captain Nick Montgomery says it’s not only his “team of kids” who will benefit from Garcia’s 19-year career, but Australian football across the board will receive a much needed pick-me-up.

“For them, the experience of having someone around that’s a champion player and made it at two of the biggest clubs in the world at Liverpool and Barcelona…it’s amazing, a man from my childhood, to bring him in for the 10-12 games we’ve got remaining.”

Coach Tony Walmsley hinted at the possibility of bringing in a marquee player during the midst of their 11-match losing streak when it was beyond clear that the club – players and supporters alike – needed a boost.

Montgomery added that strategically, the left winger will help the struggling Mariners convert their entertaining and attack minded play into points on the scoreboard.

“He’ll lift our quality in the final third, that’s something we’ve struggled with this season in terms of having strength and depth and we’ve had a few injuries to our attacking players.

“He’s a really clever player. If you look at the players we’ve got – Fabio on one wing and Mitch Austin on the other wing – their style of play is to look through balls to run onto and I’m sure he’ll be able to provide that, with a bit of genius.”

Hopefully Garcia will fill the holes in their playing style that the Mariners young guns just haven’t managed to tackle.

“Like all young players do, you go through stages of inconsistency. We’re not giving up yet on the top six this season – though it’s a big ask – we’ll get our results together and climb the table but I think in terms of next season and looking forward, I think the philosophy that Tony’s brought to the club…I think it’s going to take time.

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The average age of the squad will be raised considerably, and at 37, the signing of Luis Garcia is not without it’s controversy.

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He’s not played a competitive match since December 2014 and that was in the Indian Super League, the standard of which many compare with Australia’s state competitions.

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Granted, Garcia played like the cult hero he is in the Liverpool Legends match, but admittedly that was against other legends, men in their 40’s and 50’s, and hardly at the pace fans have come to regard the ever-growing A-League.

So not only will Garcia be a test for the Mariners, but how he stacks up against the competition will undoubtedly pose questions for Australian football in general.

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Jade Toomey
A 20 year old Media and Law student trying to tame those stream-of-consciousness writing habits with an ickle bit of fun at the Central Coast Mariners.

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