A-Leagues Life: Socceroos coach reveals Ten Hag job offer, Adelaide wonderkid’s next move

Welcome to A-Leagues Life, where KEEPUP brings you all the latest news and goings on at your club. This is how the week is shaping up across the A-Leagues and beyond.

Former Reds striker lands in Paris

Mohamed Toure has signed for Ligue 2 side Paris FC on a season long loan deal from Stade de Reims.

The former Adelaide United striker joins the French outfit in search of more senior minutes, after only making three appearances for the Ligue 1 side last season and playing primarily for their reserves.

Toure also made a handful of appearances for Reims during pre-season and found the net once.


The 19-year-old is now in line to potentially make his club debut for the second tier side in their season opener against Caen on Sunday morning (AEST).

Fellow Aussie Yaya Dukuly is still at Reims, playing for the side’s reserves, while former Melbourne City midfielder Valon Berisha has since returned after his loan deal expired with the Isuzu UTE A-League premiers.

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Wellington squad list in for Peninsula Power clash

Wellington Phoenix will be the lone Isuzu UTE A-League side in action tonight as the Round of 32 of the Australia Cup gets underway on Friday night.

Giancarlo Italiano will lead Wellington for the first time in a competitive match since taking over from Ufuk Talay as the club’s head coach, when they take on NPL Queensland side Peninsula Power at AJ Kelly Park.

New signings Mohamed Al-Taay, Jack Duncan and Lukas Kelly-Heald are in the mix to make their first team debuts for the Phoenix, while academy players Josh Rudland, Ben Wallace, Kaelin Nguyen and Fergus Gillion have all been included in the squad.

“From a personal note it’s exciting, but it’s more of a fleeting thought than anything,” Italiano said on Wednesday.

“My main focus and the staff’s focus is to make sure we get the result, we stick to our principles, we entertain the fans, and we use this as a building block for our season.

“We want to see that there’s some resemblance to what we’ve done over the last five weeks so that we can build on that for the next game, whether it is in two weeks or the start of the season.”

Italiano had previously coached Wellington on an interim basis during the 2021-22 season when Talay was forced to isolate due to Covid-19, guiding them to two wins against Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar.

The new Wellington boss said there will be a change in formation this season, but acknowledged the team will stick to many of the same principles Talay had put in place during his four seasons in charge.

“It’ll look very different. Still the same base principles but the starting point will be different, and I’ll bring my own flavour to it,” he said.

“The boys are really embracing the new formation and the new style and we’re looking forward to trying to execute on Friday.

“In a way it’s refreshing for our players, because it’s completely new, training isn’t the same and we don’t have the same routine. We’ve been able to keep things very fresh.

“Our goal is to excite fans and make Phoenix fans really proud of the football. I believe we’ll be an exciting team to watch.”

Wellington Phoenix squad: 3. Finn SURMAN, 4. Scott WOOTTON, 6. Tim PAYNE, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 9. Oskar ZAWADA, 10. David BALL, 11. Bozhidar KRAEV, 12. Mohamed AL-TAAY, 14. Alex RUFER (c), 15. Nicholas PENNINGTON, 18. Lukas KELLY-HEALD, 19. Sam SUTTON, 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM, 25. Jack DUNCAN (gk), 34. Josh RUDLAND, 36. Ben WALLACE, 40. Alex PAULSEN (gk), 41. Kaelin NGUYEN, 42. Fergus GILLION.

Unavailable: 5. Fin CONCHIE (suspended), 8. Ben OLD (injured).

Socceroos assistant reveals Ajax approach

Socceroos assistant coach Rene Meulensteen has revealed he turned down an approach from Erik ten Hag to join his coaching staff while the Manchester United boss was still at Ajax.

Meulensteen was on talkSPORT overnight and detailed the discussions he had with Ten Hag about joining him at the Dutch giants, just after he had agreed to become Graham Arnold’s assistant coach in 2018.

The former Manchester United first team coach said he considered it, but ultimately turned it down so he could follow through on his dream to go to a World Cup.

“Graham (Arnold) rang me and I said: ‘yeah, I’m going to do it’. Edwin Van der Sar rang me, who was then the director at Ajax said ‘listen, I’ve got something to run by you. I really would like you to come and join Ajax and be the assistant to Erik ten Hag.

“And I said to him… ‘you are the world champion of calling late’. He says ‘why?’ and I said ‘I’ve just agreed with Graham Arnold, to go with Australia’. He said, ‘but can we not have a chat to see if he can make it work somehow?’

“So I did. I went to Amsterdam and I sat down with Erik and with Edwin, and it was a really good conversation, but because Graham and I had also decided to do the Olympic team, there was too much time away.

“We couldn’t do it in a part time capacity and I really thought I need to follow my dream and and my passion to hopefully go to the World Cup.”

Graham Arnold and Rene Meulensteen

Meulensteen would eventually get to live out his dream four years later, when he served as Arnold’s assistant during Australia’s run to the Round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Host Jim White asked Meulensteen if he regretted turning the job down, as there was the potential he could have returned to United with Ten Hag when he took over as coach in 2022.

“No, I don’t think like that,” Meulensteen said.

“When I make my choices. I made them very thoroughly, and I put everything in what I’ve got in it.

“So that’s by the by, always when something happens like that, there’s always that particular link that maybe there was a chance of going back, but that wasn’t the case.”