Daniel Wilmering is a Wanderer through and through.
The 19-year-old Western Sydney local has been part of the club’s journey since day one – passionately supporting the side and even fulfilling the role as ball-boy in the club’s inaugural match.
Almost seven years to the day since that night, Wilmering will lace up his boots and walk out with the Wanderers in front of over 35,000 people this Saturday – not as a ball-boy but as a player.
After replacing Tarek Elrich in the 16th minute of the side’s win against the Central Coast Mariners, Wilmering was given his first start in last Friday’s win against Melbourne Victory and is set to make his Sydney derby debut this Saturday.
“It’s still a bit surreal for me but you know but every time I walk out and play it’s a very good feeling,” he said.
“That was an amazing feeling to make my home debut, obviously last season I only got one minute so that was a taste of what I wanted to get to and I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunities I’ve had this year.
“It’s been a smooth transition, I’ve been a fan so I know what the fans expect of the players so I guess I can take that knowledge into my playing style.
Markus Babbel fielded four players under-21 in last Friday’s win against the Victory – which included goal scorer Keanu Baccus, Nick Sullivan and Mohammed Adam.
Wilmering told Breakfast on FNR it gives the youth players confidence knowing Babbel will not hesitate in giving them an opportunity if he feels they have deserved it.
“It’s nice to know the coach has faith in our young players to get the job done and we stepped up to the occasion, we are young and we have to prove ourselves and we did that on Friday,” he said.
“I’ve been learning a lot off the older guys and learning as much as I can at training, they have been giving me some tips and tricks here and there and they’ve been very good.
“[This season] I wanted to learn off the older boys a few appearances here and there and continue to grow as a player.
“He gives the boys a lot of experience because he’s been around with his professional career and this year he’s really drumming into us about our winning mentality that we need to have in order to have success.”
The young Wanderers will face their greatest test yet when they host Champions Sydney FC in the Sydney derby.
Both sides come into the match undefeated with a sell-out expected for the first derby at Bankwest stadium.
“We are feeling pretty confident, obviously having two wins now. But we know Sydney FC are a good opposition and they have lots of quality around the park, so we’re going to have a top week this week to make sure we’re at our best for the weekend,” Wilmering said.
“There is a lot more expectation with the new stadium and now that we’ve had two wins in a row, we’re still feeling calm and confident and know it’s going to be tough on the weekend.”