NAB Young Footballer of the Year nominee – Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory)
Nine goals, three assists, a recall to the Caltex Socceroos, and a Hyundai A-League Premiers Plate. All in all, the 2018/19 Season will go down as a memorable one for Perth Glory’s Chris Ikonomidis.
One of six nominees for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year award, here’s a look at some of the highlights from Ikonomidis’ breakout campaign…
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Lachlan Wales (Melbourne City)
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory)
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Keanu Baccus (Western Sydney Wanderers)
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Sarpreet Singh (Wellington Phoenix)
NAB Young Footballer of the Year: Riley McGree (Melbourne City)
Ikonomidis' campaign in Opta stats
Story of the Season
Having decided to swap Serie A giants Lazio for a return to Australian football with the Glory, the 23-year-old (he turns 24 on Saturday 4 May) made a whirlwind start to life back in his homeland.
In his first five games he scored four times and set up another as Tony Popovic’s side set the early pace. The highlight was a last-gasp winner as Glory snatched a dramatic 3-2 win over Central Coast Mariners at HBF Park in Round 5.
That form was enough to earn him the coveted October/November nomination for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year award, as well as a recall to the Australia national squad under coach Graham Arnold.
As if his electrifying club displays were not enough, Cronulla-born Ikonomidis also registered his first goal for his country, scoring in the 5-0 victory over Oman in December, and following up with another, this time against Syria, in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
Even a dislocated shoulder could not keep him down, with the youngster making a goalscoring return to the fray for Perth’s final game of the regular season – last weekend’s 5-0 thumping of Wellington Phoenix – despite being subbed off in some discomfort at half-time of their Round 24 clash with Central Coast Mariners.
Why he is a good shout to be NAB Young Footballer of the Year
With pace to burn, an eye for goal and a great engine, Ikonomidis proved the perfect candidate for Popovic’s demanding 3-4-3 set-up and played a key role as Glory powered their way to the Premiership.
Having impressed during a loan spell with Western Sydney Wanderers in 2017/18, he took the plunge and left Europe to return to Australia full-time. On the back of his outstanding 2018/19 campaign it looks a wise decision.