DAVID WAGNER has held talks with the manager of the Australia national team over the need to prevent Huddersfield Town’s Aaron Mooy suffering from burnout.
The midfielder, one of the Championship’s outstanding performers this term, has been named in the Socceroos’ squad to face Thailand next month in a World Cup qualifier.
This will be the third time Mooy has linked up with Australia since joining Huddersfield on loan and will take his air-miles on international duty this season alone to almost 53,000.
Such a heavy schedule has started to take its toll on Mooy, who was rested last weekend after two below-par showings for the Terriers in the immediate aftermath of a double-header for Ange Postecoglou’s Australia side, against Saudi Arabia in Jeddah and Japan in Melbourne.
“I am happy for Aaron to be called up,” said Wagner, who is likely to recall Mooy tomorrow at Fulham in place of the suspended Jonathan Hogg.
“He totally deserves to play for Australia. On the other side, though, I do worry about keeping him fresh mentally – and more importantly, healthy.
“We gave him a few days off after the Derby game, for his health and his legs. He looked tired. That is totally normal after the three or four months he has had.
“I have spoken to the Australia manager and asked what we, together, can do to keep him as fresh and healthy as we can.
“Obviously, there are different interests here. He likes to have all his players together as long as possible because he wants to win for Australia.
“We like to win matches for Huddersfield but, again, we could both pay for this very heavy period. That is why I wanted to speak to their manager. He knows my thoughts and I know his. That is good and helps us find a solution to help Aaron.”
Mooy had been an ever-present in the Town starting XI until last weekend’s 1-0 win over Derby County at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Signed on loan from Manchester City for the season after a successful 2015 Down Under with the Premier League outfit’s sister club Melbourne City, he has been an integral part of Huddersfield’s unexpected promotion push.
“Aaron is top class,” added Wagner. “Everyone can see that. He helps us massively. I had only seen him on video before he arrived at Huddersfield. The clips were all from Australia, so I could not really compare the A-League with the Championship. It was difficult.
“I was able to see he had skills and qualities. But there is less pressure on the ball. There was something there, though and, as a manager, my job is to make players better. I believe we have helped him.
“He is open minded to new ideas. When he arrived, he thought he was a ‘Number 10’. All the clips I saw were him in that role (in Australia) but I was not convinced.
“I am now sure he isn’t (a ‘10’), not in the top-class level at least. We have found for him the position that suits him.”
Mooy will spend 10 days in Bangkok before Australia face Thailand on November 15. Allowing for the time difference, this is just three days before Town head to Cardiff City.
Wagner added: “He flies business class (on return from international duty) and that makes a big difference.
“Our medical department also give him some stretching exercises to do that can help him sleep during the flight to the UK.
“But it is the time change that can be a problem. It causes jet lag. The temperature also changes a lot. You cannot prepare a player 100 per cent for this.
“For Cardiff, we have to make the decisions after he comes back (from Thailand). Look in his eyes, speak about how he feels and also watch him in training.“