Toivonen building to full fitness


Swedish import Ola Toivonen is settling in well to life in Melbourne and, following a belated start to his Hyundai A-League career, at Melbourne Victory.

Despite scoring in his first start for Victory, the striker marks himself harsher than most.

“No, I wasn’t that good,” he said with a smile.

“It helps a lot to score, especially when you’re not playing a good game, but it was nice to get the win.

“[We were] really happy to go up to Sydney and take the three points home.”

Much was made in footballing circles of Toivonen’s availability during the early parts the season, with a calf complaint ruling him out of clashes against Melbourne City, Perth Glory and Newcastle Jets. 

Following on from a successful cameo off the bench against Central Coast, during which he provided an assist for Josh Hope, Toivonen managed 68 minutes against Sydney FC on the weekend, with the striker moving ever closer to full fitness. 

“Let’s see,” Toivonen said about his chances of seeing out the final whistle this Saturday night.

“Maybe this weekend or the next, we’ll have to see how the game is.

“[My calf] feels good. It was a little bit unfortunate, the injury, but that happens in football. You’ve got to get back on the horse and go again.”

Toivonen joins the team amidst a three-game winning streak, but knows his game and role in the team is about more than just scoring goals himself.

“I’m not really a 25-goal [a season] guy. I think I did 26 one season, including all the cups and European games, but I’m here to score goals, make assists and be important for the team.”

“I know I’m going to create space for [my teammates]. Maybe I drag two players with me and there’s space for others.

Toivonen says he and his family are enjoying the adventure aspect of playing football on the other side of the world and settling in very well. Speaking of new experiences, what did the Swede make of football at Kogarah?

“It felt weird… there was no stands! But it was fun, a new experience.”