Melbourne Victory youngster Josh Hope says all his teammates need to have the same mentality as Japanese star Keisuke Honda.
Honda’s professionalism has been the talk of the A-League this week after goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas revealed he kept him back after training to give him pointers earlier in the season.
The World Cup veteran doubled down when he later added that Australian youngsters needed to train in their free time to achieve success.
The former AC Milan man has revealed just how much of a workaholic he is since arriving in Melbourne by juggling multiple jobs which include managing his businesses and the Cambodian national team.
And Hope admits having experienced glamour players like Honda and Ola Toivonen has helped fast-track his development.
“Keisuke’s constantly working and he doesn’t take days off,” Hope told FTBL. “He’s the first here in the morning and one of the last to leave and that’s the mentality we’ve all got to have.
"It’s not just the younger boys learning from him, I think it’s everyone and it’s making a big difference.
“Just watching Ola and Keisuke and seeing how professional they are on and off the field – learning from them has really improved my game.”
Hope is taking baby steps to achieve his goals as he eyes up a spot in Melbourne Victory’s starting XI.
He came into the first-team last year and has featured in three games for the Big V this season, scoring his first A-League goal in their 4-1 win over Central Coast Mariners a fortnight ago.
His peers from last season – Pierce Waring and Christian Theoharous – have since gone on to have stints abroad, but Hope is keen to build a reputation in the A-League first.
The 20-year-old has played in midfield most of his life, apart from occasional stints as a striker while a junior growing up in Tasmania before relocating to Canberra to join FFA's now defunct Centre of Excellence.
The playmaker’s family still lives in Tasmania and he says he matured quickly after leaving home as a teenager.
“It’s definitely made me become more independent,” Hope said. “You have to mature a lot quicker because you’ve got to fend for yourself.
"I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family. Mum and dad have been big supporters for me and I don’t think I’d be where I am today without them.
“It’s all short steps. I haven’t made my first start in the A-League yet, so I’m looking to do that. Long-term goals - of course I want to go overseas and break into the national team.
“I think Musky's starting to get a bit more trust in us young players and this year it’s slowly improving.
"There has been a few of us on the bench getting more game time, so it’s been good. I’ve developed my game a lot with the first-team.”