One to watch: Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory)

It says a lot about the quality and maturity of this teenage centre-back that Victory boss Kevin Muscat had no hesitation handing Deng his starting Hyundai A-League debut in the furnace of a Melbourne Derby.

That came back in round two of this season, with the 18-year-old doing a sterling job as Victory prevailed 3-2 in a classic contest.

His display on that night reaffirmed Muscat’s faith in him and proves the Kenyan-born defender has a bright future in the game.

While Deng has made just five appearances in the A-League this campaign, he has caught the eye each time with his composure and performance.

Deng is blessed with exceptional athletic qualities, has speed to burn and also great aerial ability.

This season he has made five interceptions, six clearances and won 12 duels, while his passing accuracy of 87.4 percent is brilliant from his 103 passes.

He’s only going to get better at Victory, especially able to learn from both his coach and experienced Frenchman Matthieu Delpierre.

Mark down the name Thomas Deng because he’s destined for a long career and a player worth keeping an eye on in the race for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year award this season.

Click here to visit the NAB Young Footballer Hub