Keisuke Honda's impact at Melbourne Victory can't be underestimated - Lawrence Thomas
Carl Valeri thinks Keisuke Honda the best player to have graced the A-League, saying as much after the Japanese star's masterclass in Melbourne Victory's 4-0 defeat of Western Sydney on Saturday night.
Teammate and goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas isn't sure, he'd just prefer to watch and learn from Honda's work rate.
"His career before speaks for itself," he said. "I will give you one example. It was maybe the third or fourth round in, he came to me maybe two days after a game and said: 'Lawrence, I want to speak to you after training to discuss some of your options about playing out from the back.'
"He stayed behind for half an hour and took me through some of the options I should be looking for, and what to play.
"He's seen something I could have done but didn't ... he'll come over and say: 'Look for this pass we'll try and find that a bit earlier.'
"And he's like that all over the field. In a respectful, really disciplined way. I can't say enough about him and the impact he's having."
Honda has scored three goals to date, with a string of best afield performances.
Of course, after just six A-League outings it's folly to suggest Honda is the best foreigner the league has seen across 13 seasons.
But on this trajectory, he just might outstrip the impact of inaugural star Dwight Yorke, Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero, fellow World Cup winner Juninho and Brisbane legends Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha.
Victory face Adelaide United on Saturday night, anticipating another bumper crowd including plenty of Japanese faces at Marvel Stadium.
Kevin Muscat's side are on a four-match winning run and should regain Georg Niedermeier (concussion) and James Troisi (illness), who both trained on Wednesday.
Thomas said the quality of their Wanderers performance meant they wouldn't be automatic inclusions.
"It's not my decision and I'll leave that to the gaffer," he said. "It's a good problem to have when you've got big players out and you're still dominating games. It's only positive."