Not many can count a K-League and Hyundai A-League winner, and former Socceroo who’s played at a World Cup, as a mentor, but Sydney FC youngster Joel King can.
The 19-year-old left back, who’s enjoying an extended spell in the Sydney FC squad, has credited club Captain Alex Wilkinson as the driving force behind his impressive run in defence.
“I think 100% he [Alex Wilkinson] is the reason I’ve slotted in so well,” King said.
“If he wasn’t there I wouldn’t be playing at the level that I am now.
“It’s great playing alongside him, it makes it all a lot easier as a left back. As a young boy, playing in any other team I think it’d be a lot harder. I’m grateful that I get to play next to him and even behind Ninko.
“I’m getting a bit more comfortable in the team I think, the more minutes I get the more experience I get.
“I’m learning a lot and there’s a lot of things you learn in games that you don’t in training, so I’m happy with the minutes I’m getting and I’m just grateful.
“I’m just learning little things off the ball, like where to position yourself. Wilko has been telling me where to be and I think the last few games he hasn’t had to tell me as much which is good.”
At the halfway mark of the 2019/20 season, King said he’s pleased with where he currently is as he eyed off a collective effort of maintaining Sydney FC’s lead at the top of the table.
“The competition is difficult. We have an unreal team but we have to work hard to win every game,” he said.
“I didn’t think this is where I’d be at this stage of the season. After last season where I only got minutes in the last game, I really had to be patient.
“I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity in Round 1 and that gave me a bit of confidence and I think I’ve earned the trust of [Head Coach] Steve [Corica] for him to throw me in at any time.
“It’s difficult competition with Zullo, he’s a very good player and he teaches me a lot in training. If he’s not able to play I’m happy to play,” he continued.
“My goal is to continue playing as much as I can and to keep our lead going at the top of the table. We don’t want to lose this lead, we want to keep it going and not slacken off.”
Sydney FC take on the Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday 10th January (kick off 7:30pm AEDT). Catch the live on Fox Sports 505, stream on the ‘My Football Live’ app or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for live updates.