Wanderers investment in youth paying off

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With an A-League high seven players selected for an Olyroos training camp at the end of the month, it’s clear Western Sydney Wanderers have invested heavily in their youth system.

It’s an investment that paid dividends on Sunday against Newcastle Jets with 19-year-old Lachlan Scott and 21-year-old Jaushua Sotirio, both youth products of the club, the scorers in a 2-0 win.

Post-match, coach Tony Popovic stressed that giving youth a chance was a big priority and that it has given even previously poor results some silver lining.

“We talk about the results not being there but we’ve blooded a lot of youngsters this year. So we’re building through the club and it’s nice to see some reward for these young boys,” Popovic said.

Scott’s rise to playing first team football for the Wanderers was a particularly swift one with the striker going from the National Youth League last season to regular A-League starter this term.

While his quick ascension may have had a lot to do with Kerem Bulut’s departure and three game suspension of Brendon Santalab, the Wanderers willingness to stick with Scott against the Jets showed how important he is to their plans.

With many expecting Santalab to start against the Jets following Scott’s failure to score after three starts, Popovic revealed afterwards that Scott was always their first-choice starter.

“For us Santalab was never going to start really,” Popovic said rather bluntly post-match.

Scott is clearly a player Popovic thinks very highly of, as the coach praised the striker’s performance against Newcastle.

“It was a fantastic finish. He did what we see at training. He’ll need some time out of the team to recover physically but at the moment we’re delighted for him. It’s a jump up for the boy but he’s handling himself better and better each week.”

So while Western Sydney’s investment in youth is already paying off on the field, the big question is just how much can the Wanderers get out of it moving forward?

Looking at their seven players named in the Olyroos squad for the training camp, they’ve clearly got plenty of potential in their ranks and the real challenge ahead is making sure they don’t let any of it slip from their grip.

Feature image credit: Steve Christo

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Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas
A football fanatic and journalism student who won't leave you wondering about any Wanderers news this season as I cover all things Red and Black for The Football Sack.

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