'They’re really stepping up': Glory young guns providing platform for veterans to shine

Richard Garcia says the sky is the limit for his brigade of rising stars, as the mix of youthful exuberance and top-shelf experienced talent blended to perfection in Perth Glory's 3-1 win over Brisbane Roar on Friday night.

The spotlight shone brightly on the likes of Diego Castro (38), Bruno Fornaroli (33) and Kosuke Ota (33), who combined for three goals and two assists in the statement win - just as it shone on Neil Kilkenny in Perth's most recent fixture, as the 35-year-old was nominated Player of the Game in a 2-1 win over Adelaide United.

But alongside Perth's experienced collection of wiser heads come a band of young talents. The likes of Carlo Armiento (21),  Joshua Rawlins (16), Nick D'Agostino (23) and Daniel Stynes (22); exciting players displaying commitment to the cause and a hunger to succeed, whether playing from the start or emerging from the bench.

It's a quality embedded in Perth's squad which is helping the Western Australian outfit grow as a significant threat in the 2020/21 A-League campaign.

MATCH REPORT: Perth Glory 3-1 Brisbane Roar 

"The possibilities are endless for these guys," Garcia told FOX Sports post-match.

"I think there’s a great bunch of older guys who are really leading the way, and the young guys are coming along for the ride as well.

"They’re really stepping up, and really pushing themselves to be in that starting lineup.

The competition is fantastic, and the morale within the group is fantastic as well.

If they keep pushing in the right way, the sky is the limit for them."

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Joshua Rawlins
Rawlins is a member of Garcia's young brigade who are rising to meet high expectations in the 2020/21 season

Glory captain Castro scored twice as Perth turned on the style against the second-placed Roar. Three goals took Perth's tally for the season to 18 - an A-League record after six games - as they moved to within six points of Central Coast Mariners, with three games in hand on the league leaders.

With star forward Chris Ikonomidis and incoming German defender Sebastian Langkamp drawing nearer to a return to the fold, there's many reasons to be optimistic about Perth's outlook - but Garcia insists the pair won't be rushed back into action, largely thanks to the impressive form of his squad in their absence.

"We want to be careful," he said.

"Like everything we want to try and keep all the bodies fit, especially with this run of games in this difficult month.

It’s about maybe trying to ease off them and get a little bit more out of a few others before we introduce those guys. 

Garcia continued: "We’re always telling the guys it’s about the squad, and with a difficult season ahead and a lot of games coming up it’s going to take every single one of us to be at their best.

"It’s fantastic to see the guys are really enjoying coming off the bench, and really wanting to make an impact when they get the chance."

Something special could be brewing in Perth, says Ikonomidis
Where does Ikonomidis fit in Perth's red-hot attack when passed fit?

Perth are not done with yet in Matchweek 10. A win over second-placed Brisbane sets up a clash with the table-topping Mariners on Tuesday, March 2. 

Facing the top two sides in quick succession will test Perth's strength in depth, leaving Garcia some difficult decisions to make in the coming days to ensure his side have the legs across the park to deal with the energetic Mariners.

"It’s going to be hard for everyone to back up," he said.

"We’ll have to have a look tomorrow, see how everyone’s pulled up and see all the little niggles and knocks, and make sure that we keep the guys ticking over, and make sure we select the right players to be able to then back up on Tuesday."

Next Matches

Perth Glory v Central Coast Mariners
Tuesday, March 2 2021
HBF Park
Kick-off: 9.20pm AEDT
Match Centre

Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Saturday, March 6 2021
Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT
Match Centre