Jedinak backs Ange to turn things around at Celtic

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The 79-cap, three-time World Cup participant steps into a newly-created player development roll at Villa Park this season, with the example set by new Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou burning bright as a template for success.

Postecoglou has suffered a tricky start to life in the Parkhead pressure cooker with a 2-1 opening day Scottish Premiership loss to Hearts after its Champions League exit at the hands of Midtjylland.

Jedinak, the man Postecoglou entrusted with the Australia captaincy, believes given time his pioneering former boss will duplicate the success he’s enjoyed elsewhere by turning around the fortunes of the stumbling Glasgow giant.

“It’s a massive thing for football in Australia to have Ange at such a huge football club,” Jedinak said. “I don’t think anybody is under any illusions over how difficult a job it will be.

“But if anybody is going to tackle that head-on it’s going to be Ange, that’s just in his makeup and his nature.

“The job he’s taken might seem a complex situation (with owner Dermot Desmond under pressure to give Postecoglou the squad reinforcements he needs).

“I know he’ll be looking for the support and backing for what he has to do. He should be given that opportunity and I’m sure he will be.”

The pair worked in tandem throughout Postecoglou’s five-year Socceroos reign, and Jedinak believes unshakeable self belief and an uncompromising nature will mark his Hoops tenure.

“He’ll want to make sure the squad from top to bottom is on the same page,” he said. “He’s done that wherever he’s gone (Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory, Australia and Yokohama F. Marinos).

“Obviously there’s the time factor at Celtic but he’ll be hitting the ground running with the changes he wants to make.

“He thrives on pressure - I’ve said to a number of people over here he’ll do things his way and it’s an exciting way.”

Jedinak’s role at Villa, which kicks off its Premier League season at newly-promoted Watford on 14 August, will centre on mentoring players earmarked for loan spells.

He already has a UEFA ‘A’ licence and is now working a full pro qualification as the pathway unfolds.

“You don’t look too far ahead - I’m enjoying the role, slowly gaining experience and trying to maximise what that looks like for me,” he said. “It’s obviously an aspiration (to climb the coaching ladder) but this is a new position and I need to get my feet under the table first.

“I’m working with a lot of the emerging talents - helping them on their football journeys.

“Some of them are in and around the first team and it’s about also integrating around that a bit (alongside head coach Dean Smith and assistants Richard O’Kelly and John Terry).

“There’s a lot technical and tactical stuff and being part of a support network.”

Asked if the A-League might appeal as a possible future destination, Jedinak replied: “I’m just quietly going about my business and let’s see where it takes me.

“Football is funny. The pathway can lead to many different things. I won’t discount anything.”

With talk of a Manchester City swoop for flamboyant midfielder Jack Grealish across the UK media, Jedinak shares the fans’ hope the England star will stay in the Midlands.

“Everybody would like to build on what happened last season - and everybody is aware that Jack is an integral part of the club,” he said.

“He’s a life long Villa fan who’s come through the academy and he’s flourishing here.”


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