Rudan lauds Calver contribution

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Mark Rudan’s decision to employ Aaron Calver in an unfamiliar right wing-back position is paying dividends with two unlikely goal contributions in as many weeks.

After assisting Besart Berisha in Brisbane a week ago the former Sydney FC defender went one step further in nodding home a vital 86th minute equaliser against his former rivals Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night.

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The use of wing-backs has been a notable characteristic of Rudan’s tactical approach with the A-League’s newest club this season.

In implementing this philosophy the Western United coach has had to shape the likes of Connor Pain, and now Calver with the injury-enforced absence of Socceroos right-back Josh Risdon, to effectively play the position.

“If you asked Aaron he would probably tell you it’s a bit foreign to him,” Rudan said.

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“But it’s not dissimilar to Connor Pain who is more of a winger than a wing-back.

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“Connor is getting better every day and every week.”

Rudan revealed some intriguing discussions with Calver over the position shift.

“For Aaron, his positioning is easier from a defensive point of view because he understands that role. It’s going forward where he is not as confident,” Rudan said.

“But last week he set up Besart (Berisha) for the second and today he scores the equaliser.

“He tells me he’s confused at times but he produces moments like that and I tell him ‘what are you asking those questions for.

“Those are not normal behaviours for him as a defender but he is certainly able to do it.” 

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Prior to 2019, Calver was sky blue through and through after being handed his debut by Frank Farina as a 16-year-old back in 2012. He went on to make 50 appearances for Sydney over six seasons, winning two championships in the process.

Rudan revealed the moment his interest in luring Calver away from the Harbour City became concrete.

“I watched him play last year at Wellington when he played a right-back role in a back four,” he said.

“Libby Cacace normally just steamrolls most opposition players – but he never got past him (Calver) that day.

“That was the moment that I knew Aaron Calver had a big future and I still believe that.”

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The United coach was quick to remind the press that his side has gathered more points from losing positions than any other team in the competition.

He believes Calver’s recent contributions serve as yet another example of his outfit’s exceptional character and fighting spirit.

“I guess the most important thing out of this question for me is that every single player wants to play their position for the team and not for themselves – no question, they get on with it and give everything,” Rudan said.

Feature image credit: Western United FC

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Chris Curulli
Passionate Sports Media student and all round football obsessive, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 season.