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Toe Poke

Roar, Berisha can thank stubborn father

The secret behind the success of A-League golden boot Besart Berisha is a demanding, stubborn father.

Selim Berisha was a right royal pain for his son's junior coaches in Berlin with his obstinate ways but the Brisbane Roar marksman can only look back with gratitude now.

Young Berisha's coaches loved his ceaseless energy and strong work-ethic, and were desperate to position him in defence or the midfield.

But there was only one position he was allowed to play.

"I've always been a striker and the reason is my dad never allowed me to play other positions when I was small," Berisha said on Wednesday.

"My coaches loved me to play defence because I was a very good worker in defence but my father did not like that.

"He did not care what the coaches said. He said `no, my son has to play striker'.

"Since then I've been striker every time.

"I have to thank my father because I love this position and it's fixed for me."

The Roar have plenty to thank Selim for also as Berisha has scored a remarkable 26 goals from 38 matches for the club - including 16 from 15 in A-League clashes at Suncorp Stadium.

His high work-rate remains and is an often overlooked factor in the defending champions' armoury.

Berisha constantly menaces rival fullbacks playing the ball out of defence to spark the pressure his possession-hungry team feeds off.

But the Kosovo-born Albanian international can go too far.

Coach Rado Vidosic, who spotted Berisha when he was plying his trade in Germany for Arminia Bielefeld in 2010, does have to remind him of his primary role.

"Sometime he (Vidosic) is angry because sometimes I'm (running back as) a central defender sometimes in the game but this is the way I am," he said.

"I love to help the team in the game where I can and if I had the power I would also be goalkeeper if it was possible."

While he holds the club's overall goal-scoring record, Berisha's goal in the 1-1 draw with Wellington on Sunday took him to 24 in A-League matches - one behind former striker Sergio van Dijk.

The 27-year-old can equal van Dijk's mark by continuing his 2012-13 return of one per game when the Roar host the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night.

Vidosic believes Berisha will go on to surpass his season record of 21 goals in his second year with the Roar.

It's a prediction that Selim Berisha would agree with considering his son's previously lean times in Germany, Denmark and England.

"This is the time I've enjoyed most in my career," Berisha said. "Nothing better could have happened to me than to come to Brisbane Roar."


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