Overseas Vietnamese Martin Lò dreams of national team glory

February 13, 2020 - 07:34
Vietnamese-Australian midfielder Martin Lò has joined Hải Phòng FC for the 2020 season, giving him an opportunity to compete in the top-flight V.League 1 and for a spot in the national team.


Oversea VIetnamese midfielder Martin Lò runs a ball during a friendly match between Việt Nam's U22 squad and Hong Kong's Kitchee last August. Lò finds his new club in 2020 and dreams to play for national team. — Photo zing.vn

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese-Australian midfielder Martin Lò has joined Hải Phòng FC for the 2020 season, giving him an opportunity to compete in the top-flight V.League 1 and for a spot in the national team.

Lò left V.League 2 side Phố Hiến FC last month and signed a two-year deal with the northern port side.

“Hải Phòng has been home to many overseas Vietnamese players. The club have good coaches and great supporters too,” said Lò about his decision.

“There are also quality foreign players here and they have a similar style to me. This is a good condition to help me integrate well with the team,” said Lò, adding that he also loved the atmosphere in the city.

Before him, other overseas Vietnamese players such as goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm and defenders Đặng Văn Robert, Michal Nguyễn and Adriano Schmidt played in Hai Phong.

Robert played for the national team under Japanese coach Toshiya Miura in 2014, Nguyễn picked dup a pair of caps and Lâm is the current national team starting goalkeeper.

Coaches of the team like former head coach Trương Việt Hoàng are open-minded in giving both foreigners and overseas players opportunities.

Hoàng picked Lâm as the No 1 keeper of the team, a key decision in the Vietnamese-Russian player's development, which led to a lucrative move Thailand’s Muangthong United.

The club has needed a creative midfielder since the end of 2019 season when Lê Phạm Thành Long and Lương Hoàng Nam returned to Hoàng Anh Gia Lai after their loan deals ended. The diminutive Lò seems primed to fill the gap.

The 23-year-old impressed his coach and teammates during training and a 1-1 friendly match against Phố Hiến last week.

“Martin Lò is a smart player. He is dynamic and agile. He has good technique and a tactical mind,” said coach Phạm Anh Tuấn.

“However he still has some disadvantages including his physique leading to his poor capacity to compete for balls (against large players).”

Midfielder Doãn Ngọc Tân welcomed Lò and hoped to learn from his new teammate.

“Overseas players have grown up and trained in different environments. Coming to Việt Nam they bring a new experience to us. I believe there is plenty to learn from them,” said Tân.

“Their presence will also create competitiveness between them and us and among local players who all want berths in the first team,” he said.

Step to the national team

In 2018, Lò left Western Sydney to return Việt Nam and to try his skills in a new environment.

He joined Phố Hiến in the V.League 2, secured a berth in the first team and helped his side finish second in 2019.

He also caught the eye of national team coach Park Hang-seo who called him up to the U22 squad to prepare for the 30th Southeast Asian Games and the recent Asian U23 Championship.

However, he could not make the final squads.

Lò said it was disappointing that he failed to make either team, but he wasn't discouraged.

“In 2020, I hope to have as many chances to play as possible and bring more success to the club in the V.League 1. If I can do it well I could earn a chance with the national team,” said Lò.

“Competing for the national team would be a great feeling. Park must watch many players to select the best for his team and our duty is to show our best.”

Lò said he dreams of reaching the success of goalkeeper Lâm with both Hải Phòng and the national team.

“Yes, it is my target now. Success will not come easily. Lâm had to spend several years (showing his ability) and I need time too,” he said. — VNS