Deng rewarded for superb form with NAB YFOTY nomination

It’s been a treat for Hyundai A-League fans – especially those who follow Melbourne Victory – to have Thomas Deng back in the competition this season.

The 21-year-old left Victory in 2016 for a spell at renowned Dutch club PSV Eindhoven where he honed his craft with the club’s youth team.

It was a valuable stint for Deng who has become a regular for Kevin Muscat’s team in the 2017/18 Season.

And he’s capped an excellent campaign by being named as the last nominee for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year award.

Deng got the nod for his superb displays in March and early April, including a stunning goal in the Round 25 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Getting on the end of Terry Antonis’ cross to the far post, Deng unleashed a powerful, first-time volley which arrowed into the bottom corner of the net.

"It was an unbelievable strike. It won't get the credit it deserves because Tommy's not a glamour name," Victory boss Kevin Muscat said at the time.

But people certainly are taking note of Deng now.

Thomas Deng receives some instructions from Victory boss Kevin Muscat.
Thomas Deng receives some instructions from Victory boss Kevin Muscat.

The Australia youth international is a quick and mobile central defender, who has shown his adaptability by playing much of this campaign at right-back.

And his stats for the season make for impressive reading.

In 21 appearances in 2017/18, Deng has scored two goals – a pretty good return for a defender – from just two shots on target.

He’s made 761 passes at an impressive accuracy rate of 83%, while he’s made 37 interceptions and been involved in 33 tackles, winning 73% of them.

It’s the kind of form that will undoubtedly have Deng being talked about for higher honours in the near future and makes him a key player for Victory heading into the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

Deng is one of six nominees for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year award, along with City duo Daniel Arzani and Bruce Kamau, Newcastle Jets’ Joey Champness, Central Coast’s Danny De Silva and the Wanderers’ Chris Ikonomidis.