Socceroos star Aaron Mooy can “make a real difference” for Huddersfield Town when the English Premier League season gets underway this weekend, Josip Skoko believes.
Mooy – the best-known Aussie fronting up for the next edition of world sport’s most popular league – completed an off-season move from Manchester City to Huddersfield for a fee in the region of $20 million.
The fee made Mooy the most expensive Australian footballer of all time, comfortably eclipsing the $9.75 million Newcastle United spent on Mark Viduka in 2009.
Mooy spent all of last season on loan at Huddersfield, helping the club to promotion from the Championship, and he will be joined in the top-flight of English football by Socceroos teammates Mat Ryan, Brad Smith and Adam Federici.
“He’s got a great pass, he’s got great ideas, that’s where I think he can make a real difference,” former Socceroos star Skoko told The New Daily.
“His squad [at Huddersfield] is strengthened as well, so there’ll be others that can do that, but his one big asset is his creativity and passing.
“I’d like to think that with the quality around him his talents can shine even more.”
Skoko forged a successful career in Croatia, Belgium, and Turkey before moving to England, where he played in the Premier League for Wigan Athletic.
He said it will take time for Mooy, who like Ryan, has never played in the Premier League, to adjust to the speed and demands of the competition.
“It’s a higher tempo than a lot of leagues, you play a lot of games, it’s usually wet – the winters are very wet there, compared to some places in Europe – you have to get used to it,” he said.
“Technically not all the boys were as good as the other countries, but the top five or six in each club are technically the best.
“It’s definitely a step up in quality, there’s no doubt about it, but if you can play in the Championship, that league is just as tough and, in some ways, tougher.”
Mooy, who starred at Australian side Melbourne City before moving back to the UK, scoring 22 goals in 56 appearances, netted four times in 48 matches for Huddersfield last season.
‘You’re going into the biggest league in the world’
Goalkeeper Ryan will play for Brighton and Hove Albion, another newly promoted club, signing from Spanish club Valencia for a fee reported to be around $8.4 million.
Nick Montgomery played with Ryan at the Central Coast Mariners in the last stages of an excellent career in England that was highlighted by 12 seasons at Sheffield United, including one in the Premier League.
And he says a move to England is a big step up for Ryan, even though he has been Australia’s first-choice goalkeeper in recent years.
“You’re going into the biggest league in the world with the best players in the world,” Montgomery told The New Daily.
“When you get promoted you know that it’s going to be a massive challenge. Even the build up to every game is massive.
“It’s a different world.”
Now head of football and elite performance with the Mariners, Montgomery is upbeat about the chances of former teammate Ryan and Mooy carving out solid EPL careers.
“It’s fantastic to have these two Aussie boys playing there, albeit in teams that are just newly promoted,” he said.
“Mat Ryan is a new-age keeper. He’s good with his feet and obviously a very good shot-stopper, as well.
“Hopefully he can make a real name for himself in the Premier League for many years to come.”
While Mooy and Ryan are likely to play key roles for their clubs, Bournemouth pair Brad Smith, who is a left-back, and goalkeeper Adam Federici, are set to be back-up players.
Jason Davidson, a left-back at Huddersfield, is the only other Aussie in the frame for Premier League football.