Young Aussies Feature - The Young Mariners
Central Coast Mariners Profile of young players and how they're set to feature in this season's Hyundai A-League
The Young Mariners.
Central Coast Mariners added to their Hyundai A-League squad with no less than six National Youth League players over the off-season and were therefore one of this season-s biggest takers of young talent.
Messrs. Warren, Lewis, Ryan, Amini, Gallagher and Sainsbury were all offered first team contracts and are sure to feature in different ways as the season unfolds. The youth team has so far had opposite fortunes to the first team having lost both of their opening fixtures but it is early days.
In contrast, the first team are sitting pretty; level on points with second placed Brisbane after eight games. One young player in particular has helped add security as the last line of defence, which has seen them concede the second least amount of goals in the league to date.
Goalkeeper Matthew Ryan impressed in the National Youth League last season and earned himself a first team deal this time round. He was handed a chance when Mariner-s keeper Andrew Redmayne was unfortunately injured and hasn-t looked back since.
His impressive performances have propelled him into the number one spot at the club and without trying to pile too much weight on his young shoulders, he-s been touted as one of the country-s hottest goalkeeping prospects.
Other young hopefuls who were involved last season and will certainly be knocking on the door of the first team are Mitch Mallia, Nick Fitzgerald, Brady Smith and Bernie Ibini.
These players all still feature in the National Youth League team squad but are tipped to play some part in the first team as the season unfolds.
The Gold Coast-s strength in the youth department is shown in the current Qantas Young Socceroos squad, who at the time of writing are competing to become the first Australian men-s team to win some silverware in the Asian Football Confederation.
Mustafa Amini in particular, is a name to remember, he recently scored the second of four goals in the AFC U-19 Asian Championship quarter finals, helping his side qualify for next year-s U-20 World Cup.
The side that day featured four Central Coast players, proving that nurturing home grown talent is high on the list of priorities for the Mariners. Others involved in the match were Sam Gallagher, Marc Warren and Nikola Stanojevic.
Oliver Bozanic is another young player with a bright future and since returning from English club Reading has become a regular part of the first team setup. After three successful years he returns to the club where he made his professional debut and has so far started seven games out of eight.
Overall, the future looks bright at the Central Coast and with the mix of experience and a large contingent of young players added to the roster this year, they should be in with a good shout for the play-offs, thanks in no small way to their National Youth team who are ensuring a solid future.