Maturity the key word as Wenzel-Halls eyes off success in the West

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Despite still being relatively young, many fans around the A-League Men’s will recognise Dylan Wenzel-Halls as a household name.

The now 24-year-old is in his fourth season in the competition, and his first with Western United.

There were many clubs rumoured to be interested in the Queenslander, but ultimately it was the expansion side that managed to secure his all-important signature.

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“I had a fair bit of interest from around the A-League but the biggest thing that drew me to Western was the ambition of the club,” Wenzel-Halls said.

“They wanted to be successful and I thought it would be awesome to be a part of what they’re building and the success we’re planning on having.

“A couple of teams put in really good offers but for me, Western was the winner with the excitement of the stadium and facilities being built. It’s a new opportunity and challenge, moving away from home and being a part of a project.”

So far in his professional career, the best goalscoring return was last season with a fourth placed Brisbane Roar. The striker managed seven goals and three assists through 26 ALM matches.

The start of this season looked to have been the breakthrough that many Australian fans were hoping for. Back-to-back winning goals against Melbourne City and Perth Glory looked to have cemented his spot in the side, before the return to fitness of international star Aleksandar Prijovic put a halt to his spot in the starting eleven.

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It would have been just as much of a surprise to the former Roar player as it was to the rest of the competition when Prijovic was announced by the club six weeks after Wenzel-Halls had already signed.

Yet, in a sign of his maturity and willingness to improve, Wenzel-Halls chose to learn off the experienced Serbian rather than feel sorry for himself.

He said, however, he did not really know the club were looking to sign another striker after he signed on the dotted line.

“Obviously you can guess most teams sign international strikers and international players,” he said.

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“I obviously started the first few games and scored two important goals for the team which was good for my confidence. With Aleks coming back in it’s been less game time of late, but that’s normal. We’ve got a big team with a lot of depth so you’re not necessarily going to play every game.

“When you have an experienced striker like Aleks in front of you, you have to be patient and when you get your chance make sure you take it. I’m just thrilled to be part of the team whether I start or come off the bench.”

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Not all players are happy to sit on the bench, but it was this mindset that has seen the striker continue to build on his skillset as he enters the mature stage of his career.

Being provided the opportunity to learn from two of the league’s most accomplished imports will also certainly not hinder any growth this season.

“Just the quality they possess and when he shows it at training it’s good to learn off,” Wenzel-Halls noted.

“He’s a different style of striker to me, more of a target man. So it’s more about observing the way he finishes and his movement in and around the box.

“For me it’s more about repetition in training and working hard and driving my own standards, so that when I do get my chance, I’m ready. I’m working hard and focusing on my game, seeing the coaches when I need to and focusing on my runs and the parts of my game that I can continue to improve on.”

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Amongst the up and coming generation of Australians playing in the domestic league, Wenzel-Halls is included in those with the potential to take the next step.

According to Transfermarkt he is listed as the player with the second highest market value at the club, behind only Prijovic.

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A strong season is all that will be needed to potentially secure a move overseas, and the 24-year-old said like every Australian player he had dreams of playing in Europe and for his country.

But for now he is focused on his goalscoring.

“I’d love to hit those double digits,” Wenzel-Halls said.

“Last year I had the same goal but just fell short. To play regularly and contribute with goals and assists will ultimately help the team.

“I’m very fortunate to play professional football for a living and do what I love doing every day. The biggest thing for me is just enjoying those experiences and moments.

“Of course, I’d love to play in Europe at some stage and represent my country. But in order to do that, you know, I need to focus on my day-to-day role and work hard every day. And if I do that, and the opportunity arises, then it’s something I’ll always reflect on when I retire.”

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That maturity seeks to hold Wenzel-Halls in good stead ahead of the biggest period of his young career. The needs of the team are just as important (if not more) as individual goals. With Western sat atop the A-league Men’s ladder after 10 games, more eyes are on them than ever before.

As such, the time is now to produce on a consistent basis. It’s something that the striker himself recognises as he continues to develop his game.

At a time where the Socceroos are devoid of a consistent striker, the former Brisbane Roar young gun could be the solution, but it will take consistent form in the domestic competition first.

And a season playing under the tutelage of superstars Alessandro Diamanti and Prijovic certainly can not do any harm to a career that looks set to rise.

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Dillon Izon
Dillon Izon
Marketing graduate at Monash University. Sports addicted, fan of Manchester United and Melbourne City. My gran “knows” Gareth Bale.

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