Around the Grounds: World Cup winner has praise for Mombaerts, ex-Sydney man's shock retirement

FIFA World Cup winner and Premier League star Benjamin Mendy has hailed the appointment of former mentor Erick Mombaerts at Melbourne City.

Mombaerts – who became City’s coach on a three-year deal last Thursday – mentored Mendy, who now plays for Manchester City, when the fullback began his career at Ligue 2 club Le Havre in 2011.

“Erick knows how to get the best out of his players. He helped in my development as a player during my time at Le Havre,” Mendy said.

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Mendy was eventually captured by Ligue 1 outfit Marseille in July 2013, while Mombaerts spent two years at Le Havre before resigning in December 2014

The 56-year-old from northern France has also helped foster the development of some of Mendy’s other 2019 FIFA World Cup winning-teammates such as Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) and Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid).

“We [Melbourne City] have some fantastic young talent, some exciting new signings and a solid existing squad," Mombaerts said.

"My focus now is on our pre-season preparation, together with my coaching team, who provide a fantastic combination of local and international experience."

‘This is no longer worth it’: van der Linden retires

Chronic hip problems have forced Jop van der Linden to call time on his professional career aged just 28.

The Dutch defender penned a one-year deal with Sydney FC in July 2018 after previously spending all of his playing days in the Eredivisie, but made just nine appearances for Steve Corica’s side last season before being released in May.

Van der Linden’s struggle with injury began in 2015 while on the books of AZ Alkmaar, where he began to experience a variety of muscle complaints.

It took months for what turned out to be a hip injury to be properly diagnosed, resulting in major surgery in 2016.

In an interview with Dutch website VI, van der Linden revealed the painful extent to which his hip complaints hindered his time in Australia, from struggling to get going in the morning to being outrun during training.

Van der Linden
Van der Linden's hip injuries have forced the defender into retirement aged just 28

“I could have gone on for a few more years, but I could have destroyed it more. [I decided that] this is no longer worth it,” the centre-back said.

“At a certain point you are mainly busy keeping fit. Every day you are busy maintaining your hips, getting going. That costs an incredible amount of energy.

“Your performance then also suffers. You once started playing football because you enjoyed it so much. I came to a point that it hurt. Then you have to be honest with yourself.”