Up to seven Melbourne Victory youth players could feature for the club throughout its remaining five matches of the season.
Several players from Victory’s youth academy – including Aaron Anderson, Birkan Kirdar, Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio, Lleyton Brooks as well as Jay Barnett and Anthony Lesiotis – have traveled with the club into its hub in north-west Sydney and will be given an opportunity to prove themselves in the season restart.
Interim boss Grant Brebner, who replaced Carlos Salvachua, believes the side has the ”platform for [youth players] to stand up’’ and prove themselves in the A-League.
”I genuinely believe we have a platform for people to stand up. We know what we have but now with five games I’ve got an opportunity to play players, at certain points, who can step out of the shadows of those bigger names and show us what they have,’’ Brebner said.
”We’ve brought up five players from the youth team; Aaron Anderson will feature heavily, Birkan Kirdar made his debut against the Phoenix he’ll feature, Leyton Brooks, Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio, Brandon Lauton who’s still a young player, Lesiotis and Jay Barnett are also young players who have been around the squad.
”Young players can sometimes bring that hunger we need. We’ve had a squad of players that have got us to this point and we’ve brought in players now, who I’m hoping are not just here to play that position but here to stake a claim for that position.
”In that first game we’ll definitely have some players making their debut and moving forward we’ll have players thrown in the deep end.’’
Victory’s youth brigade will have large shoes to fill following the departures of captain Ola Toivonen and defender Tim Hoogland – both of whom have returned to Europe.
Toivonen signed with Swedish giants Malmo in June, while Hoogland returned home to Germany during the week.
”We had known for a little while [Hoogland] was contemplating going back to Germany and it obviously was a really tough decision for him,’’ Brebner said.
”I really respect Tim for the decision he’s made because it was a tough one.”
Despite the Victory remaining a mathematical chance to sneak into the finals series, Brebner does not want his side to look any further than the first game against Western United.
”It’s doable [making finals] but if we look too far ahead, we’ll take our eye off the prize and our prize is the first game because the bubble can burst,’’ Brebner said.
Melbourne Victory will resume its season against Western United on July 25 at Bankwest Stadium.
Featured Image – Melbourne Victory