Toivonen's flying start to life in Melbourne

If his football is any guide Ola Toivonen looks to be enjoying life in Melbourne.

On Saturday night, the Swede made his Melbourne Derby debut and opened the scoring with a smartly taken finish on 55 minutes. 

In his six appearances in the competition, Toivonen has made five starts, tallied 434 minutes of playing time, scored four goals and contributed a further two assists.

But when it comes to his influence the statistics, no matter how impressive, only tell part of the story. 

Melbourne Victory’s number 11 has wowed fans and viewers alike with a touch, vision and movement that sets him apart for a big man. 

Whether he’s starting out wide and picking up the ball, drifting centrally and acting as a target man, his developing partnership with the likes of Kosta Barbarouses and James Troisi has shown him capable of far more than simply holding the ball up.

Clever flicks, deft lay-offs and an ability to inject pace into the boys in blue’s attacks with a single pass have become a hallmark of the forward’s play, and the front line are all profiting from a shared creativity. 

“We’re connecting good at the moment, working during the week to find even more connection,” Toivonen said post-match.

“The more you train, the more you play, the more you get to know the players, but from the first day I’ve felt very welcome here.”

It was a significant move for Toivonen and his young family, but the player embraced the opportunity to move to the other side of the world.

For a man who has spent his entire career in Europe moving Down Under was an adventure he couldn’t resist. 

“It’s good, a new experience.

“I want to take every experience I have during my career and put it in the bank. Then I’ll look back at those moments when I stop playing football.”

And now, with Melbourne Victory’s winning run halted at six, one of the competition’s in form players has a pragmatic view ahead of a fixture list that will throw up seven matches in 30 days; starting this Friday at home to Wellington and finishing with the Australia Day blockbuster at home to Sydney.

“That’s football, let’s start a new one.”