'With Richie, I'm loving my football': confident 'Carlito' Armiento thriving under like-minded Garcia
Carlo Armiento says Perth Glory boss Richard Garcia's immense experience as a top-flight attacker is helping unlock his full potential, as he continues to excel in a barnstorming start to the 2020/21 A-League campaign.
It's been a transformative year for Armiento since signing for the club in February, 2020; the 21-year-old is relishing the opportunities given to him at his new club under Garcia - the former Premier League attacker and first-time A-League boss - after a frustrating spell with Adelaide United.
Armiento joined Perth under Tony Popovic after making just a handful of A-League cameos under then-Reds boss Gertjan Verbeek throughout the 2019/20 season.
Feeling his talents were not truly appreciated under the Dutch coach, Armiento sought a new challenge in fresh surroundings, electing to take on an opportunity with Popovic's Perth - the reigning Premiers at the time.
"When a new coach comes in, they all have different opinions," Armiento told a-league.com.au.
When Gertjan came into Adelaide he had his opinions, and he wasn’t really a fan (of me).
"So I thought to see if there were any other options in the A-League, and Perth came about.
"Personally it’s been good for myself - the last couple of years haven’t always been upwards [development-wise], it’s probably been more down.
"So it’s good all the hard work I’ve been putting in is finally coming out."
Armiento did feature under Popovic, and much like his time under Verbeek his opportunities were fleeting.
But the 21-year-old has been unleashed by his new boss in the 2020/21 campaign, showing class and confidence beyond his age throughout the start of the new season, scoring three goals and assisting two in just three appearances for Garcia's side.
Armiento says both Popovic and Garcia have helped to enhance his skillset as an attacker throughout his time in Perth, allowing him to pounce on the long-awaited opportunity finally afforded to him this season to let his talents shine.
"Working with Tony Popovic was very good, I learned a lot off of him," Armiento said.
"Now with Richie, I’m loving my football.
"He played in the Premier League, he’s an attacker, and I think he’s given me the freedom to just go out there and express myself, which I love doing.
"We have the freedom up there, Bruno (Fornaroli), Andy (Keogh), (Nick) D’Agostino, myself, Diego (Castro), there’s quality up there so I think Richie just gives us the message to go out there and enjoy our football.
As a youngster, it’s all about opportunity - when you get that opportunity, you need to take it with both hands. I have that opportunity, and hopefully I can take it.
If Garcia had plans to slowly introduce his rising star into the fray this season, the Glory boss has seen his hand forced by Armiento's venomous form.
Three goals and an assist in just two substitution appearances against Adelaide and Western United made it impossible for him to be overlooked in Glory's Matchweek 5 fixture against Melbourne Victory, in which Armiento played from the start and assisted his side's only goal in the 2-1 loss.
With a plethora of attacking stars surrounding him in the Glory squad Armiento could be forgiven for thinking his time in the starting lineup was limited, but with his confidence at an all-time high, the man Perth players and fans alike have affectionately nicknamed 'Carlito' says belief in his own ability is helping to smash any perceived ceiling which may halt his progression as a flourishing young star.
"I think confidence is a big part of any footballer, if you have confidence you feel like you can do anything.
"Even in the first game I just went out there, and I know I have the ability so I just expressed myself.
"To be playing with Bruno, Andy, Diego, they give you so much confidence.
Armiento continued: "Richie is very good with me, he just says not to worry about anything, just go out there and express yourself, don’t get caught up in too much of the game plan, just enjoy yourself - that’s why I’m loving it so far.
"Our attack has that much depth, so if Diego goes out, Andy goes out, Bruno goes out, us youngsters know we have to step up.
"I think you’ve seen in the last couple of games we have, so we need to keep working hard.
It’s going to be a headache for Richie if we all keep performing, but I think it’s what he wants."
Melbourne City v Perth Glory
Sunday, 31 January 2021
Kick-off: 6.40pm AEDT
Venue: AAMI Park
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
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