Melbourne City captain Scott Jamieson is bemused by the media frenzy over marquee striker Bruno Fornaroli.
City lost 2-0 to Brisbane Roar on Saturday night but the biggest story was Fornaroli’s exclusion from the matchday squad.
In the wake of the defeat, reports emerged of a rumoured rift between the Uruguayan hitman and coach Warren Joyce, with Fornaroli allegedly refusing to travel interstate to just sit on the bench.
El Tuna featured in the first four games of this season, and scored his first of the campaign against Wellington Phoenix a fortnight ago.
Luke Brattan was dropped for that game, which also sparked speculation about life inside City's squad.
After this weekend's loss, there were suggestions of fitness concerns for Fornaroli – who was named in the squad and fit on Thursday evening – and Joyce insisted he had picked a team to beat Brisbane
Today, the City skipper was bemused about the reports, and harked back to his experience at Western Sydney Wanderers where Federico Piovaccari did not play the second half of the 2015/16 season.
“I don’t what it is with the media in regard to Melbourne City because I went through nearly a year without our marquee player at Wanderers and there’s been more of a song and dance about this issue,” Jamieson said.
“It’s a bit of a laugh really, other players have missed out before and they’ve worked hard and got back in the team. Bruno will work hard and get put up for selection.
“You treat it the way you treated the dropping of Luke Brattan. It’s pretty normal, it’s essentially a selection issue and as players, we don’t know anything about it.
“Players come in, players get dropped and it’s just the way it works. Training will be the same this week and we’ll get reassessed. The manager will put out a team that he thinks is right to win it.
“I can understand from your point of view, but you say to any player, ‘Just because you’re a marquee, it doesn’t mean you automatically start’.
“Bruno has worked hard this offseason and has done well, like us, we’re all in the mix to try and play. No one is safe and that’s pretty clear with the selection that has been made this year.
"He’s working hard and it’s up to the manager to pick the team.
“With my own eyes, I haven’t seen an issue with Bruno or Warren, so I can’t comment on that. We don’t pick the team or have the selection criteria and as long as you train hard and do everything right then you’re up for selection.”
Player agent John Grimaud praised City on Twitter during the Roar game for the decision.
“Respect for City coaching staff has just grown for making a tough decision on a player thinking he is above the team,” he posted.
“Younger players are hopefully watching & learning that no matter how talented you are if you don’t present physically in the right shape you won’t play.”
Jamieson however was not buying into the comments.
“I’ve read a few things from player agents that were nonsense,” he said.
“I’d like to say I wouldn’t believe everything you hear from player agents, some agents might have players that are waiting in the wings that can turn things, but it was a selection issue.
“I don’t know the ins and outs of it and nor should I or anyone else except Bruno and the manager.”