Keisuke Honda and Georg Niedermeier are both used to working hard in Europe compared to what they’ve experienced in Australia so far and have urged Australian youngsters to train in their spare time.
Both Honda and Niedermeier are enjoying their stints at Melbourne Victory, who sit pretty at second on the A-League table.
Honda’s teammates have conceded they’ve learnt plenty from the former Japanese international, who spoke about his strenuous schedule today.
Yesterday, goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas revealed Honda kept him back after training earlier in the season, to give him some pointers.
The former AC Milan playmaker added that younger Australians should do more than what’s required to achieve success.
“I’m talking especially with younger players to do more, I think they should make the effort even when they get days off,” Honda said.
“That’s why I’m here and I want to change and give them another mentality, other characteristics and other habits, that’s what I’m trying to change about the team.
“When I played in Italy, Russia and Holland, I surprised people. I think that’s typical of Japanese people and maybe Germans as well.
“They work hard every day, so it’s usual, but I don’t think it’s usual for Australian people. It’s weird for me, but I’m OK because I like to train even when we have a day off.
“It’s a really nice reflection I’m getting, especially from Carl Valeri, Leigh Broxham and other experienced Australian players. They are understanding about me and they’re helping me, so I’m so confident about it.”
German Niedermeier has experience back home playing with Bayern Munich, VfB Stuttgart and SC Freiburg.
The centre-back agreed with Honda and added his attitude was not unfamiliar to him.
“To be honest I’m more used to Keisuke’s attitude than the Australian attitude,” he said.
“The heat makes us train only once a day, but you shouldn’t rest in the afternoons and Keisuke is a good example for the young players especially in this country that they should keep on working, especially on days off.
“We have lots of time especially when you don’t play in the starting XI - you train and work harder.”
Honda revealed his schedule consists of waking up at 5am, learning English, then heading off to training. In the afternoon, he manages his businesses and coaches the Cambodian national team from Melbourne.
He said he didn’t have breaks but preferred it that way and was light-hearted about how he didn’t have time to take care of his kids.
“Oh nice, you know about my schedule!” Honda joked to FTBL.
“Every year I’m getting busier because I and our group are increasing the things about not only business, but charities.
“I’m struggling every year how to manage the time, but I like to do many things at the same time.
“It’s quite tough and I’m learning how to manage both sides – especially how to manage the Cambodian national team. It’s a new experience for me.
“The most difficult thing is the training in Cambodia while I’m teaching the Cambodian players. No one has done that so far, managing and playing.
“I also have to keep training alone. That was really tough, and I didn’t have enough time to do that because I also took English lessons in Cambodia, but I like to challenge myself.”