Schneiderlin has instant ALM impact

As a big-name recruit who played 200 games in the Premier League, Western Sydney midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin knows the perception that accompanies him.

“I didn’t come here for a holiday,” the Frenchman told AAP.

“I don’t want to go back to France and say I just enjoyed my life and people say, ‘Oh he wasn’t good’.”

As Schneiderlin points out, he arrived at the Wanderers from top-flight French club Nice and there is arguably no place better to spend the last few years of a glittering career than the Cote D’Azur.

He had not played a competitive game in the six months prior to arriving at the Wanderers, which would have been a concern to most clubs signing a 33-year-old.

“I had only played internal games and friendlies,” he said.

“But I kept myself fit and I felt coming here that I was in really good shape.

“The games here are very fast, so you need to be fit.” 

Schneiderlin could have decided to coast towards the end of his career, but since arriving in the A-League Men the former Southampton, Everton and Manchester United man has had an instant impact.

The Wanderers have lost just one of five games since his arrival and are aiming to continue that good form away at Perth Glory on Friday.

“I was looking for a new challenge,” Schneiderlin said.

“There were clubs in Europe interested in me, but because I hadn’t been playing much and the clubs that wanted me, I wasn’t sure.

“I was even speaking to clubs in the US in Major League Soccer.

“Australia was never on my mind, then one day after training I got a phone call from (agent and former Melbourne Victory player) Fahid Ben Khalfallah, who said, ‘Why not Australia?’.

“I said, ‘Let’s go’, and I’m very happy with that decision.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 25: Morgan Schneiderlin of the Wanderers celebrates scoring from the penalty spot with team mates during the round 18 A-League Men’s match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Macarthur FC at CommBank Stadium, on February 25, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Schneiderlin is only signed on loan until the end of the season and is unsure as to whether his time in Australia will be extended.

His early impressions of Australian football are that it is built on transition, pace and power.

He reserves special praise for midfield partner Calem Nieuwenhof, who was this week called into Australia’s under-23 squad and has garnered interest from European clubs.

“He’s a very good player, you can see he’s a young kid who’s listening and doing everything right,” Schneiderlin said.

“He doesn’t lose the ball and he knows how to use his body. I’m trying to help him to improve but he has a really good future ahead of him.”