He’s been in Australia less than a week, but already former youth international Richárd Vernes has his sights set on blazing a trail for more Hungarian stars to join the Hyundai A-League.
By agreeing to sign with Central Coast Mariners on loan from Budapest Honvéd for the Club’s next two campaigns in Australia’s top flight, Vernes became the first Hungarian to link with an Australian first division club in the Hyundai A-League era.
The talented 22-year-old - who can play in a multitude of positions in the front third including “7, 11, 10, and 9” - averaged a goal every four games after making his debut for the men from Budapest’s Bozsik Stadion in 2010 - the type of form Mariners boss Phil Moss will undoubtedly be hoping the former Ferencváros junior will be able to replicate at Central Coast’s idyllic bayside base over the coming years.
“It was a long flight, 27 hours, so I am still a little tired,” Vernes told www.CCMariners.com.au on Tuesday. “I’ve just started training easy to get myself in the right condition, because I missed a number of days training due to my flight.”
“After our Cup game I think I will be able to start training normally … I really want to start playing because I love football and I want to show myself here.”
“It is really good to be the first Hungarian player in the competition, I am happy about that. I think Hungarian players have good qualities, and until U17 level we can beat everyone in the world.”
“We have a lot of talent, and I would be happy if what I do in Australia resulted in more Hungarian players coming to Australia,” he said.
Vernes said that his initial impressions of the Central Coast Mariners and Australian football are strong, and while he hasn’t integrated too much with his new teammates in sessions just yet, he’s liked what he’s seen from Phil Moss’s men on the training track.
“I have seen in training the good abilities of our players,” Vernes said. “(And) I have spoken four or five times with the coach, Phil, so I know that we will play with short passes.”
“It’s a young team, and a really good team.”
Vernes arrives at the Mariners with a glowing recommendation to Mariners chiefs from legendary Hungarian player and coach, Lajos Détári, in addition to a lengthy period of due diligence from the Club which included checks not only on his football ability, but his personality and willingness to share in the yellow and navy’s famed culture.
Détári is one of Budapest Honvéd’s all time greats, and at one point shared the world record for the biggest transfer fee spent on an individual player with Dutch legend Ruud Gullit - £6 million from Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) to Olympiakos Piraeus (Greece) in 1988.
Central Coast Mariners boss Moss, said: “Richi (Vernes) is a fantastic guy. He did a lot of research on the Mariners before he touched down, and he even asked about our My Club program and how he gets to mentor a junior club on the Coast – he wanted to know how he could get started as soon as possible.”
“So it’s not just about being on the pitch for Richi, it’s what he can bring to the community and his integration into the community, which is very important for a Club like ours.”
“But certainly from my point of view he’ll bring a lot of quality to our team,” Moss concluded.