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Thursday, October 11, 2012
All clubs should have marquee man: Syd FC

By Angela Habashy

The Alessandro Del Piero effect proves that every A-League club should have a marquee player, says Sydney FC coach Ian Crook.

The Sky Blues have experienced unprecedented interest surrounding the Italian superstar's first home game with a record regular-season crowd of over 30,000 expected at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

Making the match a genuine blockbuster is Del Piero going head-to-head with Newcastle's own star recruit former England striker Emile Heskey.

The buzz is set to continue the following Saturday when Sydney clash with A-League newcomers Western Sydney who boast Japanese playmaker Shinji Ono.

"I've said all along if we can get a situation where everybody has one (a marquee player) then fantastic," Crook said on Thursday.

"I know it's easy for me to say, it's not my money that's being spent.

"But I think the hype built around Emile and Alessandro this weekend and then next weekend with Alessandro and Ono is fantastic.

"If we can have those situations each week it would be fantastic."

Crook, who said Del Piero was almost like part of the furniture at the club after only being in the country less than a month, said the World Cup and Champions League winner's humility was most surprising.

"I can't explain how well he's fitted in," Crook said.

"We've been very fortunate with him being pretty open with everything. It's just been a delight to have him here.

"His quality is just fantastic.

"Did I expect him to be as personable a guy as he is? Maybe not.

"For someone who's achieved what he has, he's just so down to earth."

Crook said Del Piero has not given the squad a physical boost but also a psychological one but his charges now needed to step up their game to match the expectations that come with having the 37-year-old Azzurri legend in the team.

"Having him there just picks everybody else up," Crook said.

"But obviously it brings an expectation with it as well and that's where everybody now needs to grasp that expectation and run with it."

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