ROOS’ NEXT CROP

Meet the A-League’s young guns des­tined for the world stage

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RACING - ROB­BIE SLATER

LIT­TLE more than one round into the new sea­son and al­ready it’s clear there’s no short­age of young tal­ent com­ing through the A-League’s ranks.

And while the Soc­ceroos re­main a dis­tant dream for most, these six silky-skilled kids look to have what it takes to get there. Joel King, 18 Syd­ney FC, left- back Any Sky Blues fans who watched King’s ex­quis­ite pass for Kosta Bar­barouses’ dis­al­lowed goal against Ade­laide last week won’t be too wor­ried about Michael Zullo’s quad in­jury. It’s gen­er­ally the mis­for­tunes of team­mates that give the kids a go and King’s sec­ond A-League start re­vealed this left-back has the tal­ent to flour­ish in the top tier. A grad­u­ate of the now-closed FFA Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Can­berra, King dis­plays a con­fi­dence beyond his years. Con­nor Met­calfe, 19 Mel­bourne City, mid­fielder Tipped as this sea­son’s break­out star, the Young Soc­ceroo and City youth prod­uct has al­ready im­pressed in the FFA Cup and grabbed an A-League start­ing spot un­der new coach Erick Mom­baerts in last week­end’s Mel­bourne derby.

The ag­gres­sive left-footer is ev­ery­thing a good mid­fielder should be and more, with an eye for goal ev­i­dent in this month’s crack­ing Cup semi-fi­nal fin­ish against Bris­bane Strik­ers. Se­bas­tian Pasquali, 19 Western United, mid­fielder Back in 2016, a 17-year-old Pasquali got his first taste of se­nior foot­ball for Mel­bourne Vic­tory, scor­ing the win­ning penalty against Ju­ven­tus in the In­ter­na­tional Cham­pi­ons Cup.

Two A-League games and less than two months later, the raw Year 11 schoolkid was be­ing courted by the Ital­ian giants be­fore Ajax snagged his sig­na­ture. While Pasquali fea­tured semi-reg­u­larly for Ajax’s re­serve team, his re­turn home un­der Mark Ru­dan may of­fer the open­ing that one of Aus­tralia’s stand­out young play­ers needs. Sam Sil­vera, 18 Cen­tral Coast Mariners, winger/ No. 10 This young star pos­sesses plenty of piz­zazz. The Western Syd­ney youth prod­uct, named Wan­der­ers un­der-20 player of the year in 2017, joined the Mariners on a schol­ar­ship in June chas­ing first-team foot­ball. Af­ter turn­ing heads with a maiden pro­fes­sional goal in Cen­tral Coast’s FFA Cup semi­fi­nal run and mak­ing his Oly­roos de­but, Sil­vera signed a three-year A-League deal. His vi­sion, bal­ance and drib­bling make the Syd­ney­born teen a ma­jor as­set to Alen Sta­j­cic’s side. Al Has­san Toure, 19 Ade­laide United, striker Four FFA Cup goals were quickly fol­lowed by a first A-League goal for the Guinea-born striker. New Reds coach Gert­jan Ver­beek stum­bled upon Toure while watch­ing an NPL game and promptly pro­moted him to first­team train­ing. Tech­ni­cally sound, he has an im­mac­u­late eye for the tar­get and is not afraid to take on older and big­ger op­po­nents. The raw but bril­liant tal­ent fills Ade­laide’s gap­ing hole up­front.

Pic­tures: AAP/ Getty/Mark Ste­wart

Lach­lan Wales.

Met­calfe.

Al Has­san Toure.

Pasquali.

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