NAB young footballer of the year nominee: Chris Ikonomidis
STORY OF THE SEASON
The six-cap Caltex Socceroos joined Western Sydney Wanderers on loan from Lazio at the end of January and immediately caught the eye on the right side of Josep Gombau’s attacking system.
In just his second game he earned man-of-the-match honours in the 4-0 demolition of Wellington and has started every match in the run-in to the finals series.
While he missed selection in Bert van Marwijk’s initial squad, there are many who believe the supremely talented 22-year-old is close to earning a recall to the national side, having last featured off the bench against Greece in June 2016.
BY THE NUMBERS
With a passing accuracy of 82%, which hardly drops at all in the opposition half, Ikonomidis can be relied on to pick out his team-mates with excellent consistency.
In just ten outings, he’s created 14 chances for his team-mates as well as notching three goals of his own.
Even though he played just ten games, Ikonomidis recorded 32 shots; only George Blackwood (45) and Stefan Mauk (36) had more amongst under-23 players.
WHY HE SHOULD WIN
Ikonomidis only arrived in the Hyundai A-League at the end of the January transfer window, but his impact has been immediate.
He has been consistently excellent in an inconsistent Western Sydney side and has more than justified their decision to bring him home from Italy.
He’s become the catalyst for many of Wanderers’ best attacking moments and while he won’t play finals football, it certainly isn’t because of any failing on his personal part.