Berisha setting the bar for ADP and Heskey

I was asked this week if Besart Berisha is more valuable to his team than Del Piero or Heskey. I had to think about that for a while – now that’s a debate.

I was asked this week if Besart Berisha is more valuable to his team than Alessandro Del Piero to Sydney or Emile Heskey to Newcastle. I had to think about that for a while – now that-s a debate.

In the three games Del Piero-s played for Sydney FC he-s been a shining light and anything of any real quality has come from him. Newcastle and Heskey is a bit of a different situation but he-s made just as big an impact because he-s scored two goals.

And then you-ve got Berisha, a striker that loves to play on the shoulder of the defence and make those darting runs in behind. Given the opportunities he gets with Brisbane, he-ll take more than he-ll miss.

But what a debate… Right now, you-d have to say Berisha is more valuable to his team, because he-s been here longer and had a massive impact on Brisbane and the A-League.

He also gives us a talking point, as he comes across as a passionate player and maybe at times he rubs people up the wrong way. I-m guessing he-s the type of player you-d love to play with and hate to play against.

Del Piero has set that standard for Sydney, leading by example and really grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck.

Sometimes he-s had to go a little deeper than he-d like to receive the ball but it was just going back to get on the ball to show his teammates, “This is what you should be doing”.

But Heskey and Del Piero come from far superior leagues and have played with far superior players but one way they can help is to not always seeming a step above their teammates.

Neither of them seem to have that type of personality anyway, but it-s important they can grab those boys and drag them up with them. I see that ability in both of them; great personalities and great professionalism.

But in this discussion we can-t overlook Brisbane-s other big name – Thomas Broich, without whom we wouldn-t have seen the Berisha we-ve seen for two years.

Goalscorers, those penalty box players, thrive on service, whether it be Heskey getting on the end of a cross into the box or Berisha finishing a pass from Broich or Nichols. I-m sure if you asked Berisha about the major contributions to his run of scoring and his performances, he-ll say, “The service I get from my teammates”.

And that-s something I saw first-hand with strikers at Rangers and Celtic. Teams that create a lot of opportunities, their strikers are going to score a few goals. There are players that-ll have three or four opportunities and miss them; Berisha will score two of those.

Those sorts of players are a nightmare to defend against. You just can-t give him any chances. He might get caught offside, he might miss an opportunity but that won-t put him off; he-ll continue to get in positions, he-ll continue to make those runs that will make the defender look over his shoulder.

And the one time that defender gets it wrong he-ll have a one-on-one and he-ll score. There-s no other way other than to be 100 per cent focused for the whole 90 minutes and hope for a little bit of luck.

Can we say say he-s the best striker in the league? He-s certainly setting the standard. Del Piero-s not a striker so you can-t compare, while Heskey leads the line and has scored two in three in games. But Berisha’s got a proven track record.

If he was an Australian player, we might be afraid he-d be heading off to Europe soon but the grass is not always greener. Sometimes people find a nice fit.

Look at Broich; he played in young national teams for Germany and has a fantastic pedigree but he didn-t really fulfil what people thought he could – and look what he-s achieved here. A player-s happiness goes a long way to their performance on the field.

And these two in particular at Brisbane seem extremely happy with their life in Brisbane and you see that in their performances.

We-ve seen already this season that Brisbane under Rado Vidosic are willing to try new things – I believe the third goal against Melbourne Victory was even “route one”.

Under Ange it was all about getting balls to feet, little combinations plays in about the box, and you knew when the ball went wide, very rarely did a cross come in. But Roar are mixing their game up and I-d say that makes them even harder to play against because they-ve got a few different ways to hurt you.

But those changes don-t mean Berisha is going to change his game. He-ll still look to get in positions for a chance, whereas sometimes a defender will switch off – and that-s when he-ll get in and score. He-ll continue to get on the shoulder and make those penetrating runs and be in people-s faces.

That-s his style, that-s what-s brought him so much success in Australia and I don-t see him looking to change too much.

So Berisha is obviously hugely valuable to Brisbane, that-s clear in what he-s achieved already. Only time will tell if we can compare him to Del Piero or Heskey in the A-League.