EXCLUSIVE: Clint Bolton says he’s been recharged by his move to Melbourne Heart and his new coach John van't Schip says he's impressed by what he's seen of the former Sydney FC shotstopper
To see Heart train and behind the scenes at the new club...
Bolton's enthusiasm was on show yesterday as van't Schip put a skeleton squad through their paces at Heart's impressive new headquarters a Latrobe University.
After just a week in the southern capital, 34 year old Bolton is buzzing. And joining a new franchise has a pleasantly familiar feeling for the two-time grand final winner, as he explained to au.fourfourtwo.com from Heart's HQ.
"It's exciting, the start of something new," he said. "I remember bac k in Sydney when it all started and all the buzz.
"You start with something small and you build - and we ended up with two Championships.
"I'm expecting similar things here in Melbourne with Heart. I'm an open book, you can read me pretty easily. It's all over my face, I'm pretty excited to be here and excited by the new challenge.
"Coming off the back of a Championship, I'm just hungry for more.
"The squad we're putting together, the coaching staff, the set-up so far. There's no reason we can't compete in the first year and hopefully test out the teams that are there now.
His coach has liked what he's seen so far from the big Queenslander - who was put through a tough session by Heart goalkeeper coach Peter Zois.
"I hope he will be as important to us as he was at Sydney," the former Dutch national team assistant coach told au.fourfourtwo.com.
"From what I've seen so far, he's a very professional athlete and at 34 he's showing already he's eager to perform and get better. And as a person, he's very good to have in the group."
It's a view shared by Zois who described Bolton as being physically in fantastic shape and having another crucial ingredient.
"We're really happy to see he's really hungry," the former Holland-based keeper said.
"His professionalism and consistency has been evident throughout the A-League and we're getting to see why he's got this respect on and off the field.
"He's commanding ... and he'll be crucial. You build a team from the back. And his age is perfect for a keeper."
The popular Bolton parted company with Sydney FC after five successful seasons at Moore Park and two grand final wins.
Bolton was one of the originals who joined the club ahead of their successful season one. He left the club on a high winning the A-League grand final on March 20 - the second time in the sky blues history.
It means he's arrived at Heart in good condition with only a three week break in-between. It's given him time to focus on his new life and career in Melbourne.
Thursday's session was only the third for the newest A-League franchise and was part of an initial month of training before the squad take a break in early May. The players return again in early June.
au.fourfourtwo.com was given a guided tour of the club's facilities at the Latrobe University campus. The training fields have room for four pitches with dressing rooms and an eating are next to the grounds.
Located a short drive from the training area within the campus are the club's administration and football operations offices, massage rooms, swimming pool, gym and café.
With the players and staff working closely together on a daily, already it's clear there is a strong camaraderie between all at the start-up venture.
And the players will look the part too when they take the park in season six with their snappy red-and-white stripes for their home kit.
What's more, a sneak peek at the club's yet to be released away kit is an early contender for best-ever A-League kit. In short, it's a stunner.
It all bodes well for the future as Bolton adjust to life down south.
He added: "My body feels fresh, as good as ever since I've been in the A-League. And most importantly my mind's fresh and just really enjoy training and hungry for championships.
"I'm still just settling in. I'll find a unit down St Kilda way so looking forward to that then I'll get the yoga happening, then down to the beach doing my recovery things like I was doing back in Sydney.
"I'm not gonna get a Bondi here but I think St Kilda is a nice place and it'll do the job just as well. It's about finding those little things that got me through last year."
And the Socceroo described the new Swan St stadium - the proposed Heart home venue that's still being negotiated - as being having a European feel.
"It's like Bayern's stadium," he said. "I can't wait to see it at night when it's lit up, it'll be amazing to play in.
"Just imagine the first game against Victory... Those are the games you want to play in, the big games, like Victory at Etihad, the finals, theyr'e the ones I play for.
"To get that in a derby in the regular season will be exciting."
And as for returning to play in front of the Cove, Bolton wasn't expecting the home fans to go easy on him.
He added: "I'd expect them to give me stick just like any away team.
"But I love that, copping that stuff, it galvanises me, steels me, it gives me that edge and I just want to beat them just that more.
"I expect that and hope for that... everyone moves on and I've moved on. I'm Melbourne Heart now and Sydney's a memory now.
"I'll look back when I'm retired and be happy with what I achieved there but now it's all about the Heart and I just wish the season was here right now."