Young high fliers brought back to earth by Talay
He’s shown he can leap high and score with his head but Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay wants teenager Ben Waine to keep his feet firmly on the ground – and the same goes for another rising star.
Although Waine and Sam Sutton combined for the matchwinning goal against Western United last weekend and look set to retain their starting spots for a crucial game against Perth Glory tomorrow, Talay has kept the two 19-year-olds away from the media ahead of a season-defining stretch of fixtures.
Though their involvement in the late winner was a good news story for a club languishing in ninth on the A-league table, Talay said he did not want Waine and Sutton getting distracted by the attention.
He made a point of that when asked how Sutton in particular had responded in training this week after earning his first start of the season and delivering the decisive cross for Waine to head in at the near post.
‘‘The biggest thing for me with Sutts and Waineo . . . it’s only one game,’’ Talay said.
‘‘They played 90 minutes. Tey haven’t played 26 games for 90 minutes and been standout players. It’s been one game and hopefully they build confidence with the game time that they get and we kept them away from you guys [the media], so they can focus on what they need to do; which is play football on the park.
‘‘It’s nice to get accolades when you’ve done well but sometimes it can pull you away from what your real job is and their job is to play football,’’ Talay said.
Although primarily a midfielder, the left-footed Sutton was identified as a player who could cover left-back given the lack of depth in that position behind All White James Mcgarry, and he appears to have done enough to retain his spot for arguably the most important game of the Phoenix’s 2020-21 season to date.
Talay said marquee striker Tomed Hemed was unlikely to be ready to face the Glory after missing the previous game with a quad strain, while veteran defender Steven Taylor was expected to start just one of the next two as the Phoenix continue to manage his work load after returning from an injury of his own.