Sport Football Glory coach hits back at Gallas critics

Glory coach hits back at Gallas critics

Alistair Edwards
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Former Socceroo Craig Moore reckons the signing of Frenchman William Gallas is a waste of money, but Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards begs to differ.

Gallas is set to make his A-League debut in Saturday’s clash with Adelaide in Perth after signing on with the Glory on a one-year deal believed to be worth $700,000.

Moore questioned the merits of Perth using up its international marquee spot to sign a defender, especially one who’s 36.

“It’s a different story in the case of strikers and playmakers,” Moore wrote in the The Courier-Mail earlier this month.

“They win you games either through creativity or scoring goals. Or in the case of Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero and Japanese star Shinji Ono, both.

“Eventually it would be fantastic for Australian players to be filling those match-winning roles, but we need to develop that over time.

“However, when it comes to defenders, we need our own players filling such positions in the A-League.

“We’ve got to make sure the foreign marquee players are going to have the right impact and are going to have a legacy, not stunt the growth of our own players.”

Edwards admits the allowance of five imports for each club is too many.

But he said the arrival of Gallas, or any other international marquee of similar quality, would actually help boost the quality of Australian soccer, even if they are defenders.

“Some of the players in our backline are pushing really hard for Socceroos selection,” Edwards said in reference to Michael Thwaite and Scott Jamieson.

“And if they can garner some little insights into how to be a world-class player and play in world-class leagues, it’s going to be great for everyone.

“You don’t win championships in the EPL and play in World Cups like Gallas has without being a winner.

“Gallas is coming into an environment where we have a lot of young really driven players who want to make a success of their career.

“And what better way to do that than with someone who has had and is still having such a great career?”

Melbourne Victory also used up its international marquee position to sign a defender – 35-year-old Chilean Pablo Contreras.

Gallas, who played with Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham during a decorated career in the EPL, says he wants to lead fourth-placed Glory to this season’s A-League title.

Glory striker Shane Smeltz will miss the clash with Adelaide due to international commitments.