Aspropotamitis the next generation of Wanderer

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At only 18 years of age, Jonathan Aspropotamitis has become a force to be reckoned with in the Wanderers back line after a hefty schedule in the post-Champions League glory has led to many veterans being rested or injured.

The Queenspark Junior has spent his career playing for clubs like Sydney University, Parramatta, Sydney Olympic and Apia Leichhardt, where he captured interest to be selected in the Western Sydney Wanderers Youth team.

Aspropotamitis and WSW vs FC Seoul. Image provided by Western Sydney Wanderers.

Aspropotamitis first gained the interest of Wanderers assistant manager Ian Crook while he played at Apia Leichhardt and remained both in contact with and on the radar of Crook, who then brought the defender into the Wanderers circle.

It was not long then until Aspro finally made his debut for the Red and Black in the Hyundai A-League after consistent selection into the club’s youth team saw him impress the coach.

On March 11, the Wanderers were playing against Melbourne City and Aspro was listed in the starting line-up for the senior side.

At this point he was a fresh and unknown face for many of the supporters who were intrigued to see him fill in the shoes of Matthew Spiranovic.

“I felt nervous but at the same time really excited, obviously Popa (Tony Popovic) told me I was going to be in the line-up so naturally I was nervous,” Aspropotamitis said.

“At the same time, I knew that the boys had the confidence in me to play the game.

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Under the guidance of an ex-Socceroo defender and an Asian Champions League winning coach, Aspro has the perfect formula to develop into a fantastic footballer at the Western Sydney club.

“He’s passed down his knowledge to me; I’m grateful for that and I’m benefiting from that everyday.”

Since his debut, Aspropotamitis has been pairing up with club captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley as the other central defender and more recently with Matthew Spiranovic during their game against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday event. This totals Aspro with six games for the senior side.

The majority of these games have seen Aspro under the wing of Topor-Stanley who has been guiding and helping him develop as a footballer.

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“I’ve learnt a lot playing, sort of the communication side of the game which is very important and he (Topor-Stanley) does that well and always talks to me.

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He’s been very important in my development so far.”

When most young players are brought up into the senior squad, they often clam up under pressure and make many mistakes. Aspropotamitis has been the polar-opposite and has been a breathe of fresh air for the Wanderers injuries woes. He has been cool, calm and collected on and off the ball.

“I try to stay and keep calm before the game and I try not to get too nervous before each game.”

But like any good footballer, Aspropotamitis acknowledges that there are certain things he needs to improve on so that he can develop into an even better footballer.

“I think in all areas of my game I need to improve and whether that be with the ball or without it, there’s always room for improvement and I will continue to improve.”

With only two games left for the remainder of the season and another two Champions League group stage games, Aspropotamitis still has many chances to feature in the Wanderers senior squad this season.

“My goals are to keep improving everyday and just to keep working hard and if more games come by the end of the season that’s an added bonus,” Aspropotamitis said.

“But for me, it’s just about improving everyday and seeing where that takes me”.

With Aspropotamitis coming through so strong at a young age in the Wanderers ranks, there is no doubt that supporters will see more youngsters playing like veterans in the near future.

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Jessica Csaszar
Jessica joined the team for 2014 covering Western Sydney Wanderers in the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League.

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