Western Sydney Wanderers don’t miss Western United defectors Brendan Hamill and Josh Risdon, says coach Markus Babbel


The move has clearly reinvigorated Risdon, who was restricted to just 10 games last year due to injury but has played himself back into Socceroos selection for next week’s World Cup qualifier against Jordan with a string of eye-catching displays at wingback for his new club.

“For [Risdon] it was important, maybe, this move, because last year he was never, ever fit,” Babbel said. “It was very difficult for these kind of players to perform well because the atmosphere in the team wasn’t good.

“I wasn’t happy last year with the mentality, with the attitude what the players had. It wasn’t a team. Many players [were] very selfish. This is a team now who don’t want to lose … they are fighting for the result.”

Hamill, meanwhile, played 24 games for the Wanderers last season but is yet to figure for Western United.

“Last year there wasn’t great competition [in our defence]. Now there’s competition in Melbourne west and he’s not playing. It shows you, maybe he has to do a little bit more,” Babbel said.

“This is not my headache anymore. I’m happy with my squad now, I’m not looking behind at who left us because I think we are stronger now.”

Former Wanderers captain Brendan Hamill is yet to play for his new club Western United.Credit:AAP

There is a third player who, had things worked out a little differently, might also have been wearing red and black instead of green and black this weekend. Former Socceroo Scott McDonald was so close to joining the Wanderers three years ago that the club’s media department had prepared social media graphics to announce his signing.

Ultimately, the veteran striker was denied the chance to take up the “life-changing offer” on the table by his club at the time, Motherwell, and at one stage had retired before Western United came calling earlier this year.

Former Italian international Alessandro Diamanti has been superb for Western United.

Former Italian international Alessandro Diamanti has been superb for Western United.Credit:Getty Images

He looms as a real danger man for the Wanderers, along with Italian star Alessandro Diamanti, who Babbel said would be the subject of a concerted plan to contain his unique abilities.

“It’s great to see him here in Australia because this is exactly what the league needs, a player like him. But we want to stop him,” Babbel said. “We know it’s not easy because he’s a smart player, he’s very clever. The problem is he’s everywhere. You can’t say he’s only in [one] position.”

Meanwhile, Babbel admitted he was unsure if key midfielder Pirmin Schwegler (calf) would figure on Saturday night after suffering an injury in last week’s scoreless draw with Brisbane Roar. The Swiss veteran’s chances hinged on Friday’s training session, which was closed to the media.

With Matthew Jurman (groin) a confirmed out, Patrick Ziegler could make his first start for the season alongside German import Nicolai Muller, who came off the bench against the Roar.

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