Adelaide’s homegrown Isaías replacement

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18-year-old Adelaide United midfielder Louis D’Arrigo has not even made twenty professional appearances and the comparisons with former captain Isaías have began to flow.

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Isaías departed the club for Qatar at the end of last season after 158 appearances, two FFA Cup trophies, an A-League/championship double and four player of the year awards.

He quite literally ran the team with his ability to dictate tempo and style from the middle of the park.

D’Arrigo, the 2017/18 Y-League player of the year has drawn plaudits from across the nation because of his seamless transition into the Spaniards role.

He said it was an honour to be compared to a player that he grew up watching every week and idolising.

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”When I hear that i have been compared to him or people tell me they have heard it whilst watching the game it’s pretty big because he was the captain and the best player in the team for practically the whole time he was at the club,” he said.

”I used to look up to him, watching him in training and games last year was huge. He taught me a lot just by watching him. He is the one I used to look out for the most and try and play like.

”To be mentioned that I’m filling in his boots is pretty big but I’ve obviously got a long way to go and keep performing.”

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The teenager, who only had four A-League minutes to his name before the start of the 2019/20 campaign, joined the Reds first team squad after impressing new coach Gertjan Verbeek with solid performances in the youth ranks.

The former West Torrens Birkalla junior impressed so much in pre-season that he was rewarded with a two-year scholarship contract – only for it to be upgraded to a three-year professional contract after his stellar early season form.

His adaptation to the A-League has been nothing short of incredible, but it has not surprised the Young Socceroos starlet who won the AFF under-18 title last year.

”I wasn’t expecting to be involved much early on but I knew if I kept training well that I would get my chance because Getjan gives younger players opportunities.

”I guess Mirko Boland got injured at the right time and the coach gave me a chance to see what I have about me and I think I took my chance – I just have to keep taking it.

”It has gone very fast but I’m loving every second of it.”

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The A-League season is at the half way point and D’Arrigo has received glowing praise from analysts around the country, he even featured in Simon Hill’s best 11 so far.

If his form continues, he can etch his name firmly into the Olyroos’ Olympic squad selection debate but it is not something that he is concentrating on.

”Obviously if I get the chance to be called up, I will go 100% but I don’t think I will be a part of that.

”I’ve got my under 20 World Cup qualifiers at the end of the year so I think that’s what I’m focusing more on and to just keep playing first team football because at the end of the day, I want to play as much as I can to get the experience,” he said.

D’Arrigo’s tenacity, ball-winning ability and intelligent distribution has been the key to his natural succession of Isaías, but he is just one of six under-23 players to impress for the Reds this season.

Five of which played junior football in Adelaide came through the United youth ranks and are homegrown.

Feature image credit: Adelaide United

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Euan James
Lover of all things football. Covering Adelaide United in 2019/20 for TFS!