Steven Taylor says Wellington striker signing David Ball's hard yards in the lower tiers of English soccer have him primed to be an A-League force.
The Premier League veteran hit back at suggestions the English striker lacks the quality to match the deeds of last season's prolific Wellington Phoenix front line.
Coach Ufuk Talay still has several signings to complete but at this stage Ball shapes as his key target man, effectively replacing departed Johnny Warren Medal winner Roy Krishna.
Krishna, David Williams and Bayern Munich signee Sarpreet Singh have all left, leaving Talay to somehow make up for their 31 combined competition goals last season.
Ball has scored just 13 goals in 69 games over the past couple of years while at Rotherham United and Bradford City, sparking the concerns of critics. Previously, he found the net 41 times in 179 games over five years with Fleetwood Town.
But Taylor said an apparently unglamorous CV shouldn't worry Phoenix fans.
"It's a difficult league, when you see the defenders he's playing against and the pressure that's put on, playing game after game," Taylor said.
"He's played 50-odd games a season and he's a very fit lad. I told him 'you come here and play, you'll have plenty of time to recover.'
"He had a lot of offers back in England and he still wanted somewhere that was going to test him out. He's very talked-about back home. The fans will love him."
Mexican attacking midfielder Ulises Davila is set to take Singh's playmaking duties and Taylor believes 29-year-old Ball is an excellent acquisition up front, having played more than 350 games in England from the second to the fourth tier.
Taylor's 13-season career at Newcastle United was mostly in the English Premier League but before joining Wellington, he battled through what he said was a taxing season with League One Peterborough United.
Taylor was heartened by his early impressions of new coach Talay and he was heartened by the signing of a host of talented Australasian players.
All Whites international Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi was the latest addition on Thursday, joining a sound-looking defensive line-up.
"It's a new era in Wellington, I enjoyed last year, I can't wait for this year to get going," Taylor said.
The Englishman played down suggestions he will soon be unveiled as captain to replace long-serving skipper Andrew Durante.