John Aloisi full of praise for Socceroos defender Kye Rowles

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Kye Rowles’ rise to the Socceroos has come as no surprise to football legend John Aloisi, who has known him since his teenage years.

The international emergence of skateboarder-turned-Socceroo Kye Rowles hasn’t surprised John Aloisi, despite the A-League championship-winning coach having allowed the defender to leave Brisbane during his time with the Roar.

Rowles seems set for a long-term future in the heart of the Socceroos’ defence after impressive displays in his first two senior appearances for Australia.

The 23-year-old centre-back is set to again start for the Socceroos in their do-or-die World Cup intercontinental playoff against Peru on Tuesday morning (AEST), with Aloisi tipping another strong display from Rowles.

“I’ve always liked Kye,” Aloisi said.

“He’s a good kid, and now you can see that he’s becoming a very good player.”

Then-Roar coach Aloisi signed Rowles to his first professional contract in 2016.

However, after just one season of his two-year deal with the Roar, Rowles left the Roar to join the Central Coast Mariners, where he has made 104 of 106 A-League appearances.

“Kye always had that ability – that’s the reason I signed him from the AIS. I knew how good he could be,” Aloisi said.

“It was more about him wanting to become a footballer and focusing on football.

“When I was coaching him, he was still young, he still loved to surf, loved to skateboard … I’m not sure how much he knew about wanting to be a professional footballer and what it took.

“Now you can really see he’s focused – he’s playing at a very high level.”

Aloisi, who last month guided Western United to A-League glory, said Rowles would improve further with his likely move to Scottish Premiership club Hearts.

“That’ll be a good move for him; a good step. It will help him develop even more as a player,” Aloisi said.

To secure his move to Hearts, already the home of fellow Australians Nathaniel Atkinson and Cameron Devlin, Rowles has to be granted a visa.

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson told his club’s Scares Around the Funnel podcast: “We’ve agreed the contract, signed the player but it just needs to go through the GBE (Governing Body Endorsement) now, which is the panel that allows us to get the visa to get him in.

“It’s not quite done, but we’re very hopeful that will get over the line.”

Neilson said Rowles was a “really good defender”.

“(He’s) athletic, young, good on the ball, left-sided as well, so it gives us a bit of balance.

“I think he will do very, very well for us and I’m really excited about bringing him over.”

Originally published as ‘Becoming a very good player’: Aloisi full of praise for Socceroos defender Kye Rowles


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