Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Keanu Baccus believes the showcase of young talent on display this season is a positive sign for future A-League youth development and is eager to see more young players being given the chance to perform.

Baccus was among the 23-man Olyroos squad that travelled to China earlier in January to compete in the AFC U-23 Championship. The squad was dominated by A-League selections and featured the likes of Bruce Kamau, Daniel De Silva and Joseph Champness, three players currently vying for the A-League young footballer of the year award.

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For Baccus the chance to play alongside the brightest Australian footballing prospects highlighted just how important it is for clubs to consistently field their younger players throughout the season.

“These players are quality players, I was training with them this month and they’re very good, very smart for how young they are,” he said.

“It’s good that we have players coming up in the youth of that quality.

“Letting them play week in and week out is good, if you keep performing and jeep doing well then it’s good for the future.”

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Baccus himself has received praise this season following several impressive performances including a particularly notable effort against Central Coast Mariners which earned him the man of the match award for the night.

“I was really grateful to earn that,” he said.

“It was a good game, we turned it around, we kept the ball and I had a lot of touches on the ball.”

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The midfielder’s breakthrough season has been all about exposure and experience and his first start certainly came under challenging circumstances. The 19-year-old was thrown into the cauldron for the Sydney Derby in which the Red and Black were dealt a 5-0 thrashing by their cross town rivals marking one of the gravest days in the history of the club.

The resilience shown by Baccus in that game was a silver lining in an otherwise humiliating Wanderers performance and the youngster was more than grateful for the opportunity and praise regardless of the result.

“I was happy to be playing but obviously a little nervous seeing it was such a big game” he said.

“In a five nil loss no one is really performing at their best.

“I was just trying to work hard and do my part but at the end of the day a loss with that big score just wasn’t good enough.”

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Baccus also welcomed the instalment of Josep Gombau as coach of Western Sydney Wanderers having played under the Spaniard earlier in 2017 during selection camp for the AFC Championship qualifying matches.

“I always rated Josep as a coach and respected him when he was the Olyroos coach,” said Baccus.

“He knew I was young and he called me in and still gave me a chance and played me for the U23’s when I was still young, I’m grateful for that.

“Now he’s my coach here so it’s funny how things work.”

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After suffering defeats against Vietnam and South Korea in the group stages of the AFC Championship the Olyroos were denied the chance to progress further in the competition. Baccus is eager to use the results on the international stage to spur on his A-League ambitions and further help the Wanderers carve out a place in the finals.

“We just need to make the top six, we’re in there now but we need to try stay there and climb higher when we can,” he said.

“I’ve never played finals football in my life for the A-League, so that would be very good for my young career.”

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Bachelor of Journalism student from the University of Wollongong, covering Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2017/18 season.