Del Piero still refining Sydney’s next gen

Sydney FC starlet Chris Naumoff says the example set by Alessandro Del Piero continues to inspire and he hopes the Italian maestro stays with the Sky Blues.

Sydney FC starlet Chris Naumoff says the example set by Alessandro Del Piero continues to inspire the younger players and he hopes the Italian maestro stays with the Sky Blues.

Starting the season in the club's National Youth League side, Naumoff's strong performances caught the eye of Frank Farina who had no hesitation giving him a taste of the Hyundai A-League.

The young Sky Blues attacker has made 10 appearances with the senior side, impressing many with his maturity and calmness on the ball.

While praising youth team coach Steve Corica for helping his development at the club, Naumoff said he owes a lot of his improvement to the influence of Del Piero.

"He's been helping all the youngsters, he'll have a chat and really gets involved and it really does help your game," the 18-year-old told this week.

"It's mostly on the training pitch. If something happens in a drill he'll tell you how to improve or a better way to do it.

"And also he'll tell you if you're doing things right so you know. And off the pitch if he needs to talk to you again he'll do it and he's always there to offer that."

Perhaps the biggest thing Naumoff has taken from the Italian legend in his work ethic, with Del Piero often staying back after training sessions to work on his shooting and set pieces.

"At his age for him to still be doing that and improving his game is something you try to copy," Naumoff said.

"It shows how hard to you to work to make it to the top. Anything he does or any advice he gives you, you take it with both hands.

"It would be great [if he could stay next season]. Everyday walking in there it's still a shock he's around. He's such a world class player and anytime that you get with him would be great."

Naumoff is still unsigned to a senior deal for next season at Sydney, with the Menai Hawks junior still on a youth contract with the club.

"I'm a Sydney boy. I was born here, I've been at the club for three or four years now so I'm definitely looking to stay," he said.

"It's a great club and I like it here a lot. I want to secure myself in the A-league and definitely do it at Sydney FC.

"Before this season I didn't think I would play as many games as I have. I'm happy with how it's worked out and I'm just looking to get some more games under my belt now.

"Being in an elimination final there's a really good feeling in the squad this week and I'm sure with the experienced guys we have and a few of the youngsters we can go all the way."

And that includes with the Young Socceroos, where Naumoff spent this week in camp in Campbelltown with Paul Okon's squad.

This is one of the final training camps the squad will have before October's AFC Under-19 Championships in Myanmar, which is also doubles as a qualifying tournament for the World Cup.

"We don't get a lot of time together so each time we do it's really important and I do feel the team is gelling more," Naumoff said.

"We've got a lot of talent in the squad which is exciting for what we have coming up this year."

Friday, 18 April 2014 Hyundai A-League 2014 Elimination Final 2 Melbourne Victory (4) v Sydney FC (5) Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Kick-off: 7.30pm local (7:30pm AEST)

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