Former Dutch international wideman Romeo Castelen has promised Western Sydney Wanderers fans he’ll prove to be a good signing for the Asian champions.
Castelen showed flashes of his potential in the Wanderers’ disappointing 1-1 draw at home to fellow strugglers Newcastle on Saturday before coach Tony Popovic took him off early in the second half.
The 31-year-old had the home supporters on their feet with a brilliant 25-metre run that left defenders in his wake to set up a gilt-edged chance spurned by Nikita Rukavytsya.
But it proved to be his last telling contribution after he picked up a calf injury just before halftime.
“I thought at halftime I might be able to play through it, but it wasn’t to be so I came off,” Castelen told AAP.
“I am still finding my feet, this was only my third start and my second game in four days.
“But I felt good out there, even in the heat. I know I am going to get better and better, the fans will soon see the best of me and enjoy the way I play.”
Popovic admitted some recent signings are still coming to terms with their new surroundings but said Brazilian playmaker Vitor Saba, like Castelen, is looking better with each game.
“Castelen was dead after 35 minutes physically,” Popovic said.
“He’s a player that plays with a high intensity and we’re getting him match fit throughout the season.
He said Castelen would “take time to finish a 90-minute game at the high intensity he plays at”.
And the Wanderers coach backed his Brazilian import.
“We see Vitor’s talent every day at training. During games the glimpses are becoming more and the moments are becoming longer.
“This was his best game. But he is still adapting. New country, new team, new football. He’ll only get better.”
Popovic has maintained all season he’s not concerned by his team’s slow start, but his side are without a win and remain anchored to the foot of the table.
The Wanderers’ two points have come from draws at home to lowly Central Coast and Newcastle, and next up are in-form rivals Sydney FC followed by a midweek clash with premiers Brisbane.
Defeat to the Sky Blues would be the first real test of a career where so much has gone right and Popovic warned his squad changes could be made to find the winning formula.
“No player in this team is guaranteed a start,” he said.
“Every week the players train really hard to try and get in that first 11. That’s the environment we want to create.
“No one should become complacent.”