James Troisi suspects if Tony Popovic can make it in Turkey, he can make it anywhere.
And the Socceroos playmaker would know, having spent four years of his career in the country’s unforgiving top tier.
If spells at Genclerberligi and Kayserispor taught Troisi anything about the fate of Western Sydney’s suddenly departed coach, it’s that Popovic’s transition from A-League heavyweights to Super Lig battlers Karabukspor promises to be a baptism of fire.
“I don’t know what his thoughts are, but I know Turkey … and it is a very difficult, tough league,” Troisi said from Socceroos camp in Malacca on Monday.
“If you can coach and play in Turkey, you can probably coach and play in most other countries in the world.
“It’ll definitely be a test for him, but Popa has a strong character which is what you need in that country and that league.”
Troisi named the language barrier and potentially dictatorial owners as two challenges Popovic could face in his bid to lead third-last Karabukspor out of the relegation zone.
There’ll be familiar support should Wanderers assistant coach Andres Carrasco and goalkeeping coach Zeljko Kalac join him as speculated.
“But there’s not too much more room for failure,” said Troisi, now with Melbourne Victory.
“In saying that, they want to succeed or try and come up, so they get a new coach to try and bring them up.
“Hopefully he can do his own thing and stamp his authority and try and implement the style of football he wants to play.”
Turkey has been deemed an odd choice to fulfil Popovic’s long-held European ambitions, despite the success there of Australian players including Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill and Michael Petkovic.
On the flipside, the move might pave the way for other Australian coaches looking for a break overseas, including Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou at the end of this World Cup cycle.
“I don’t think people know too much about the Turkish league but if you look at, especially the top three or four clubs, they compete against some of the best in Europe,” Troisi said.
“Their support base is some of the best in Europe … so I think it’s a good step for him to move back there instead of going to an England straight away.
“If you can play and coach in those kind of countries, you get pretty thick skin.”