Europe ‘next step’ for Mariners’ Rowles

German midfielder Nikolai Muller has no doubt Central Coast teammate Kye Rowles can become the latest A-League Men’s talent to secure a move to a European club.

Rowles’ star has continued to rise over the past fortnight with the 23-year-old defender earning a call-up to be part of the Socceroos’ squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers against Vietnam and Oman.

He then put in an impressive performance in last weekend’s FFA Cup final — while failing to prevent Melbourne Victory from snatching the silverware at AAMI Park he earned a share of the Mark Viduka Medal along with opposition midfielder Jake Brimmer.

The accolades are fully deserved in the opinion of 32-year-old Muller, who has been impressed by Rowles’ ability since he joined the Marinersin the off-season.

“You think ‘oh he’s a good player’ but you don’t recognise it when you’re at another club, but when you train with him every day and see in the games, he’s an amazing player and with his age, I was so happy for him that he got an invite from the national team,” Muller said.

“He’s a great player and I’m pretty sure his next step would be Europe.

“I’m 100 per cent (on that).”

Mariners coach Nick Montgomery, who made more than 350 appearances in England during his playing career, said Rowles had prepared himself perfectly for a move abroad by taking the time to learn his craft in the ALM.

“Young players here they need to play games and need to be prepared for going overseas because it is brutal compared to here,” Montgomery said.

“A lot of players leave too young here. They leave with not enough games under their belt and unfortunately a lot of them end up back in the A-League within six to 12 months.

“Kye’s on the correct path for any young player. He’s got the international recognition and I’ve no doubt Kye will go to a big club at some point … right now he’s a Central Coast Mariners player and we’re delighted to have him.”

Rowles and the Mariners welcome Macarthur to Gosford on Thursday night, with Central Coast yet to win in the league this year and Ante Milicic’s Bulls striving to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat to Wellington last weekend.

Montgomery challenged his team to return their focus on their league campaign.

“If anyone tells you a cup final is not going to be in the back of your mind, I think it was for a lot of the players and especially the young boys … but now it’s gone,” he said.

“We’ve got quite a few games to catch up on and we need to win them games and get the points, starting tomorrow night.”