Pagden gives Wanderers academy another seal of approval
Noah Pagden is the latest Western Sydney Wanderer to step off the club's academy production line and into Hyundai A-League football.
Pagden, who signed a two-year scholarship with the Wanderers last October, made his league debut for the Red and Black in a 1-1 draw with Melbourne City two weeks ago.
The Wanderers have unearthed a swell of academy graduates in 2019/20, in a season that saw Stage 1 of the club's state of the art Blacktown-based Centre of Football open.
Since opening in September, the door to Hyundai A-League minutes has been opened to five new academy talents - Pagden, Kosta Grozos, Daniel Wilmering, Mohamed Adam and Jarrod Carluccio.
Every player has made their league debut this season, while another graduate, Fabian Monge, made his first team appearances in the team's FFA Cup 2019 Quarter Final defeat to Melbourne City.
They join Keanu Baccus, Nicholas Suman, Tate Russell, Mathieu Cordier and Nick Sullivan as fellow Wanderers' academy players in the first-team squad.
All up, the Wanderers have handed varying levels of Hyundai A-League football to 10 academy graduates this season.
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Pagden, who featured for the first-team in their pre-season exhibition clash with Championship outfit Leeds United in July 2019, says making his top-flight debut alongside Carluccio was a very special moment.
"I've had to wait a long time but in fairness to the squad it just goes to show how well we've been going that it's taken this long for myself to get a look in," he told the club website.
"So I was just glad that I could take the opportunity.
"To come on for one of my fellow teammates and academy foundation player, Jarrod Carluccio, was a special moment.
"We've been at the club for four or five years now, we started in the U/15's together and to make our debuts on the same night was a pretty special feeling."
The path to Hyundai A-League football - as blazed by the likes of Baccus (56 appearances), Russell (22 appearances) and Mourdoukoutas (16 appearances) - give Pagden belief that he can follow in the footsteps of his peers and absorb the experience from the likes of Matthew Jurman as he looks to stake a claim for first-team action.
"For me, personally, a left-footed centre back, it doesn't come much better than Matty Jurman so I've been able to look up to him a lot throughout this year and then also another younger player like Tass (Mourdoukoutas) who has had to bide his time as well. Hopefully I can replicate that in myself," he said.
"Being in the full-time professional set up has been a lot different for myself, coming in every day, every week and working hard with top professionals that have played the game for such a long time. I've been able to learn from them day in, day out."
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