Behich's brings up half-century

Melbourne Heart utility Aziz Behich is set to make his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance when his side travel to Wellington on Sunday.

Melbourne Heart utility Aziz Behich is set to make his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance when his side travel to Wellington on Sunday.

The 21-year-old - who can play in midfield or at left-back - has starred for the Heart this season as they have marched up the league table.

But his top-flight career in Australia started with the Heart's cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory.

After impressing at Green Gully in the Victorian Premier League, Behich was snapped up by Victory and immediately slotted into the club's National Youth League team.

They finished second-last in the 2008-09 competition and as a result, he was the only player from the squad to be retained - inaugural captain Matthew Theodore was promoted to the senior set-up - which resulted in him being given the armband for the NYL outfit.

Behich's A-League debut came in Victory's 6-2 thrashing of Perth Glory on January 16 2010 and a string of substitute appearances led to selection in the club's Asian Champions League squad, while he came off the bench in the 2009-10 A-League Grand Final against Sydney FC.

Victory went on to lose that match on penalties, with Behich missing a golden opportunity to score in the dying stages.

That proved to be his last A-League appearance for the club, with a short stint at Hume City followed by a trial with the Heart.

The trial included a friendly appearance against English Premier League outfit Everton before he signed an injury replacement contract for the sidelined Kristian Sarkies, which saw him join the club in enough time to make his Heart debut in their inaugural match.

Heart boss John van 't Schip showed faith in the youngster and shortly after, he signed a permanent contract with the Hyundai A-League's newest club.

He became the first player to ever be sent off in a Melbourne derby when he received two yellow cards in the first meeting between the two sides, which Heart won 2-1.

Behich impressed during his first season at the club but it has been during his second that his career has really taken off.

A string of superb performances at left-back - highlighted by a fantastic goal against the Newcastle Jets in November - have seen his name come up in possible discussions for the Socceroos.

And with a lack of legitimate options in the troublesome position, it would not be a surprise to see Australian manager Holger Osieck call on the youngster in the coming months.

Behich will be 21 years and 52 days when he makes his 50th appearance in the top-flight on Sunday.

That makes him the fourth youngest player to ever reach the milestone, with only Ben Kantarovski (19 years, 303 days), Kosta Barbarouses (20 years, 354 days) and Luke DeVere (20 years, 359 days) reaching the milestone before him.