Corica Heralds Young Star

Sydney FC Head Coach Steve Corica has praised young star Calem Nieuwenhof following his A-League debut, saying there’s no reason why the 19-year-old can’t start each week.

Nieuwenhof’s stunning long-range effort was one of the highlights of the Sky Blues’ opening win of the 2020/21 season, and Corica lauded the club’s Academy product with the Manly junior bringing his form from the AFC Champions League in Qatar to the domestic stage.

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“I’d say he’s putting his hand up to play every week, he’s doing a great job at the moment,” Corica said.

“We want him to keep improving and obviously if he can bring goals into his game as well that’s fantastic from midfield.

“We want him to dominate in midfield and I thought he did that in patches [against Wellington].

“It was a wonderful goal on his debut as well. I thought he was good.

“We’ve tried to protect him so far, obviously after the ACL everyone wanted to speak to him, but he has got that nickname [‘sleepy’], he is pretty laid back and nothing seems to faze him too much and that showed again [against Wellington],” Corica continued.

“I don’t think a bit of praise will harm him, he knows he’s doing a good job.

“It’s the first game of the season though, there’s a long way to go, we’ve got a good midfield as well, so he just wants to keep his spot and he needs to keep doing what he’s doing now and keep improving and keep ticking us over with the way he plays.”

Nieuwenhof celebrates after his maiden Sky Blue goal.

While thrilled with the three points, Corica noted the sluggishness of his side in the second half, saying he’d reassess the schedule this week with the squad not playing again until January 16th in a massive Sydney Derby double header at Stadium Australia.

“We looked tired so that’s something I need to look at this week,” Corica said.

“[We] didn’t get out in the second half, we defended quite well blocking a lot of shots and balls coming in to the box we cleared quite well, but we just weren’t our usual self with the ball.

“We don’t have a game for two weeks now, our next game is against the Wanderers so we need to work hard this week and freshen up for the game coming.

“We’re very pleased to get the three points and I think that was the main aim at the end of the day.”

Sydney FC return to A-League action against the Wanderers in a massive Sydney Derby double header with the Westfield W-League squad at Stadium Australia on Saturday 16th January (kick off 5:05pm AEDT).