Van Egmond: It's a younger man's game

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond believes football is evolving into a younger man's game, but experience is still needed.

Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond says his recruitment of a number of talented Australian youth players is designed to help the squad adapt to the evolving nature of football.

Van Egmond said the Jets would look to bring in some seasoned professionals from foreign leagues to complement the young talent they already have at the Jets.

“We-re probably looking more at some overseas players with a bit of experience,” he said.

“We-ve brought in quite a bit of youth. In Australian terms they-re classified as youth, but in my classification, they-re what I would call fairly seasoned players.

“The likes of (Scott) Neville and company are 22 or 23, which is a great age.

“I think the game is evolving into a younger man-s game, but again you do need to have that experience and ensure you have the balance within your squad to be successful.”

Van Egmond said the Jets would be looking to fill the remaining spots on their playing roster primarily with attacking players.

“We-re going through a number of options in the number nine and 10 roles and a wide right person. We also probably need another left back as well.

“Again, we don-t want to rush into that, we want to make sure we get it right and we-ve got some time to do that.”

As they Jets continue their efforts to build their squad ahead of the 2012/13 A-League season, work has already begun to ensure the current group of players are all on the same page.

“Those days are gone when you were looking at dunes and beach running and running in the bush,” he said.

“We play football, so our pre-season will be based on the football pitch.

“We-ll gradually be working into it from an intensity level and from a case of how many times we work each week, we-ll be increasing the volume as well, but we-ll be doing all our work on the football pitch.”

Van Egmond believes that the Jets- focus on incorporating ball work into pre-season training will improve the on-field chemistry of the team.

“You can still work these players very hard here and bring in decision making with the drills that you do and the session that you plan.,” he said.

“The more you do that, the more routine that decision making will tend to be. There-s not only the conditioning aspect of it, but the decision making aspect of it is very important to us as well.”

With a number of fresh-faces joining Newcastle during the off-season, van Egmond said he expects competition for places to be as fierce as ever.

“There-s been plenty of times where players have come from so-called left field because they-ve had a very good pre-season,” he said.

“It gives everyone an opportunity and it-s a fairly clean slate for everyone to come into this year and we-ll monitor the progress of the players and see what happens.”

Defender Tiago Calvano and goalkeeper Mark Birighitti are expected to join Jets training in June. Tiago is currently spending time with his family in Brazil while Birighitti is fulfilling his Asian Champions League commitments with Adelaide United.