Sydney defender earns international selection

After last year becoming the youngest ever Hyundai A-League debutant, Sydney FC defender Nikolas Tsattalios will get his first taste of competition in the green and gold later this month.

After last year becoming the youngest ever Hyundai A-League debutant, Sydney FC defender Nikolas Tsattalios will get his first taste of competition in the green and gold later this month after being selected for the Young Socceroos- current tour of Japan.

Playing in the SBS Cup, the under 20s national team will line up against youth squads from Argentina and Japan, as well as local J-League youth team Shizuoka.

The tournament will give the Australian side a good hit out as it prepares for the Asean Football Federation Championships and AFC Under 19 Championships later this year.

“I'm definitely looking forward to it,” Tsattalios said before departing. “I can't think of a greater honour than representing Australia against teams of that high quality.”

Tsattalios and the Young Socceroos squad were put through their paces by new youth coach Jan Versleijen at a week-long training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport recently, in preparation for the trip to Japan.

“We got through some hard work with a new coach,” the 18-year-old explained. “I made the squad for the Japanese tour so it was a good seven days down in Canberra.”

With the tournament previously involving the likes of Ronaldinho and Nikolas Anelka, Tsattalios is relishing the chance to enhance his football skills on the international stage.

“Selection in the squad is definitely good for my development as a player,” he said. “It will be good to develop my game and hopefully I can return to the club as a better player.”

Earning the opportunity to represent his nation early in his football career, Tsattalios admits that he hopes to use his selection in the Young Socceroos as a springboard for future success.

“This is only the beginning for me so I have to do a lot of work to keep my spot and keep progressing through the ranks,” the defender said. “I-m going to keep my head down and work hard for both club and country and hopefully some good things happen.”

The Young Socceroos open their campaign against Japan on August 23, before playing Shizuoka on August 24 and Argentina on August 26.

SBS Cup Location: Shizuoka City, Japan * Saturday 23 August, Australia v Japan * Sunday 24 August, Australia v Shizuoka Province * Tuesday 26 August, Australia v Argentina

Qantas Young Socceroos Squad. 1. Andrew Redmayne (GK) - Central Coast; 2. Sebastian Ryall - Melbourne Victory; 3. Nathan Elasi - Melbourne Victory; 4. Luke De Vere - QLD Roar; 5. Mitchell Nichols - QLD Roar; 6. Tahj Minniecon - QLD Roar; 7. Jason Hoffman - Newcastle Jets; 8. Jason Naidovski - Newcastle Jets; 9. Daniel Mullen - Adelaide United; 10. Milos Lujic - Oakleigh (VIC Premier League); 11. Stefan Vrbesic - Las Palmas, SPAIN; 12. Sam Munro - AIS; 13. Matthew Jurman - Sydney Olympic, NSW Premier League; 14. Thomas Oar - QLD Roar; 15. Mark Birighitti (GK) - Adelaide United; 16. Niko Tsattalios - Sydney FC; 17. Dane Milanovic - AIS; 18. Daniel Thomas (AIS).