Babbel: Muller needs time to adapt

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Markus Babbel says the Western Sydney Wanderers must be patient with new signing Nicolai Muller as he adjusts to the unique conditions of Australian football.

The former Bundesliga attacker received a warm welcome to Wanderland on Saturday night: both from the passionate fans as well as the temperature, which sat at a balmy 30 degrees.

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During an exciting 30-minute cameo in the closing stages of Western Sydney’s 0-0 stalemate with Brisbane, the two-time German international showed flashes of his capability.

Babbel said he was pleased with Muller’s initial contribution but revealed he was unable to pinpoint when the attacker would be ready to play 90 minutes.

He said the Australian climate, jet-lag and a late arrival were inhibiting factors for his German player.

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“For me, it was clear he could not play 90 minutes…This is a big move from Europe to here, especially at the start of Summer where it is very hot.

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“It is a big difference to Germany where it is 15 degrees and perfect football weather… 30 degrees is much more difficult.

“For the player, it is also not easy to join an inner circle that was already here. He has to find his place but we will give him time and I am sure he will adapt quickly.”

The 32-year-old has linked with the Wanderers as an initial injury replacement for Radoslaw Majewski.

Despite being considered by many an out-and-out right-winger and thus not a like-for-like swap for the Polish number 10, Babbel praised Muller’s versatility and vision.

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“He (Muller) is doing exactly the things I want to see, making forward runs and technically he can see the players around him,” he said.

“He can play as a ten but also as a winger and a second striker.

“It is one of his biggest strengths: that he is not only in one position.”

The Wanderers boss said he was already “looking forward to the break” the club will enjoy in round six as an opportunity to work one-on-one with Muller and the Red and Black’s other recent signings.

Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Chris Curulli
Passionate Sports Media student and all round football obsessive, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 season.