van der Venne finds home away from home at City

Quickly becoming a fan favourite, Richard van der Venne continues to go from strength to strength in his first season down under.

The key behind van der Venne’s success is the happiness he’s found not only on the pitch but from settling with his young family in their new lives in Melbourne.

After arriving from the Netherlands as a free agent, the former Go Ahead Eagles and RKC Waalwijk player has quickly stamped his authority on the league, registering five goals and five assists already this season.

van der Venne said he’s felt embraced by his new club and is enjoying his new life in Australia both on and off the field.

“I was a free agent in the summer and I just had a feeling that this was the moment to make a move,” van der Venne said, “I spoke to my wife and she was very supportive and said ‘let’s go then.”

“My teammates and coaches were really happy that I was here and that I signed with the club, so everyone helped to make me feel welcome.

“It’s all going very well, I’m happy to be here in Melbourne and playing football with this team.”

While his form in recent weeks has been strong, The Dutchman endured a challenging period after first arriving on Australian shores.

Eager to make an impression at his new club, van der Venne was ruled out for three months after suffering a tear to a tendon in his quad after just his first week of training.

“Normally in preseason you get a chance to get to know your teammates and the playing style,” he said, “Unfortunately, it was me on the sidelines watching the guys and that was a really tough time.

“Once I got injured I had to adapt and getting familiar with my teammates and learning the playstyle was delayed.”

Focusing on his rehab throughout almost the entirety of the preseason, he then had to wait a handful of games before being handed his first start under then-Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo.

In just his first year in the league, van der Venne has had to not only overcome injury and life in a new country, but also a new Head Coach after Kisnorbo’s departure to sister club Troyes in Ligue 1.

Under Rado Vidosic, van der Venne has played on both the right and left-hand sides of the midfield, ultimately doing whatever is required to best help the team.

While he’s a natural No.8, van der Venne offers Vidosic plenty of options given he can also fill the No.10 role, something he became accustomed to in his time in the Eredivisie.

“At my former clubs I played as a No.8 but then also as a No.10, so when Rado asked if I wanted to play on the right so I can come in and have a shot with my left leg, we went with that,” he said.

“It all depends on the opponent that I am playing as to whether I’m switching from the right or the left, but for me, it doesn’t matter which side I play.”

Since cracking the starting XI van der Venne hasn’t looked back, providing plenty of highlights this season, none more so than his hattrick against Macarthur.

After starting on the right, van der Venne was moved across to his preferred left central midfield role after 15 minutes and quickly made the spot his own, finding the back of the net with three magnificent strikes.

van der Venne said that while any new move brings its own set of challenges, he feels his role in the team and City’s style of play suits his natural game.

“There is a big difference in physicality here in Australia,” he said, “The physical style of the A-League is a little bit more than that of the Eredivisie.

“I’m really liking playing in Australia, my physicality and conditioning I think fit into the playing style and as a result, I think it suits me very well.”

While van der Venne is soaking up City’s on-field success and enjoying his new life down under, he has his eyes firmly on bringing trophies back home to the club this season.

“I think we have a good chance, if we can go on like we have all season, our last game will hopefully be the Grand Final,” he said.