EXCLUSIVE: Wilkinson on Sydney FC’s remarkable success and keys to being a top defender

He’s been an unsung hero of Sydney FC’s incredible success over the last 18 months and appears to be getting better with age.

Alex Wilkinson is the Sky Blues’ ‘Mr Consistent’, going about his business with a minimum of fuss and he just gets the job done.

It’s a trait we’ve come to expect with "Wilko", from his time in the old NSL to the start of the Hyundai A-League with the Central Coast Mariners.

The 33-year-old has had a wonderful career to date, from his successes with the Mariners and Sky Blues, to winning a league title in the K-League, playing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and winning the 2015 AFC Asian Cup with the Caltex Socceroos.

With the Sky Blues set to embark on their Asian Champions League campaign next week as they chase yet more silverware in the Hyundai A-League, we caught up with Wilkinson as part of our “Extra Time” series.

The dependable defender discusses everything from lining up at the 2014 World Cup, to the best players he’s marked and reflecting on Sydney FC’s record-breaking 2016/17 Season.

He also opens up about what it takes to be a great defender in the modern game.

“These days…I guess it’s a lot about communication. If you can organise the people around you and in front of you, I think it makes your job a lot easier on the pitch,” Wilkinson told www.a-league.com.au.

“If you can talk to the midfielders and strikers in front of you, a lot of the time the ball won’t even get down your end. You can get it stopped before it gets there.

“And if it does get down there it’s important to try and stay on your feet, jockey and try to show the attackers away from goal and stop the play.

“But for me communication is very important.”