On Saturday night, Kosta Barbarouses revealed it was Keisuke Honda’s words of encouragement that took him to the penalty spot and got him off the mark in front of goal.
On Wednesday afternoon, Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas spoke of the Japanese star’s influence on his game and his teammates.
“I’ll give you one example,” Thomas said.
“I think it was maybe the third or fourth round in, he came to me after training, maybe two days after the game and said, ‘Lawrence, I want to speak with you after training and go through some of your options playing out from the back.’
“So we stayed behind for half-an-hour and he [talked] me through some of the options I should be looking for.
“He’s got a real passion for the game.”
Far from shocked by his new teammate’s recent form and always willing to take onboard anything he’s got to say, the one thing that has taken the Melbourne Victory shot-stopper aback is Honda’s mastery of a new language.
“I asked how he’s got so good, so quickly.
“Apparently he wakes up at 5:30am every morning and does two hours of English. He’d probably write a better essay than I can or give a [better] speech!
It serves as a small example of Honda’s dedication and attention to detail and, in Thomas’ estimations, is why he is the player and person that he is.
“He’s incredibly disciplined and everyone at the club can pick his brain to get to the top level.
“You see him every day, he’s in at the same time doing his work before training and after training. After a game he comes in and does his stuff.
“You don’t get to that level or do what he’s done in the game without being consistent and taking pride in what you do.
“[He] sets a great example for the young boys and myself – he’s setting the standard in the Club and on the weekends.
“It’s an absolute privilege to have him here, he’s producing on the field and it’s great to watch.”
Keisuke Honda has already claimed an Asian Cup during his illustrious career, lifting the trophy as part of the successful Blue Samurai outfit of 2011.
With the Socceroos line-up to be finalised for the 2019 tournament shortly, Thomas makes no secret of his desire to be involved.
“I’d love to be,” the Melbourne Victory number 20 said when asked if he’d like to be in Graham Arnold’s squad.
“I finished off last year on a high note and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, working hard with Jess Vanstrattan, our new Goalkeeping Coach.
“I’ll continue to put my head down and work, it’s a goal of mine to be involved in that set-up and I believe I’m good enough to be there.
“We’ll keep going and hopefully that call will come.”