Hagi Learning From A Master

At 168cm Hagi Gligor is not going to win many aerial battles. But he only has to look across the training paddock to see that it shouldn't hold him back.

At 168cm Hagi Gligor is not going to win many aerial battles. But he only has to look across the training paddock to see that it shouldn't hold him back.

The diminutive youngster is relishing the opportunity to learn from Sydney's other pocket rocket, Alessandro Del Piero.

After making the step up from the youth team, the midfielder admits it's has been a steep learning curve, but being in the presence of more experienced heads has improved him as a player.

"Everything's just been a lot quicker, both on the ball and off the ball - mentally it has to be a lot quicker," said Gligor.

"Playing with Del Piero and a lot of the senior boys has helped a lot.

"I like to listen to everything he says. He gives out little hints and advice about being smart and patient on the ball and to try not to give it away."

The 17-year-old made his starting debut in Sydney's 0-0 draw with Melbourne Heart at Allianz Stadium in Round 9, and showed maturity beyond his years against an experienced Heart midfield.

He counts it as his most memorable Sydney game to date, but acknowledges he'll have to work hard for more opportunities in a competitive midfield that includes Socceroos Jason Culina and Brett Emerton.

"Playing alongside Del Piero in a home game in front of all the fans was just the best feeling," he said.

"I need to be more consistent in my performances. I can't have good games then bad games - I need to be more consistent and work harder at training."

Hailing from St Marys in Sydney's west, the youngster takes inspiration from other former youth team stars who have made the step up to A-League football, particularly the versatile Rhyan Grant.

"I know Rhyan especially, we went to the same school.

"Watching them progress has inspired me to work hard and try and do what they do."

Gligor's western heritage will be tested on Saturday when the youth team take on Western Sydney Wanderers at Cromer Park (kick off 10am). Sydney came away with an emphatic 3-0 win in the last meeting of the two sides, and the young star can't wait to play against the club's fierce rivals.

"Because I live out west I know a few of the boys and the coaches so it's sort of like playing my home team."

"It doesn't matter if it's the youth or the first team - everybody wants to beat Western Sydney."

Saturday-s game has a new kick off time of 10am at Cromer Park in Dee Why.

Sydney FC's next A-League home game will be a Finals Series six-pointer against the Melbourne Heart this Sunday, January 13th. Tickets are available from Ticketek starting at just $25 for adults. Kick off is at 5pm. It should be an occasion to bring all the family.