Sydney FC win race for talented youngster

Graham Arnold says the signing of highly rated teenager Alex Gersbach is another indication of Sydney FC's emphasis on promoting youth under his tenure.

The Sky Blues claim to have fought off several rivals to secure the services of the 17-year-old defender, who has represented the Miranda Magpies, Sutherland Sharks and the Australian Institute of Sport.

Arnold developed a reputation for blooding promising youngsters during his title-winning spell in charge of the Central Coast Mariners, and the new Sydney coach has already allocated one of three Under-20 slots in the senior squad at Allianz Stadium to left-back Gersbach.

"We beat off competition from a number of other A-League clubs to his signature which goes to show just how highly he is rated," he said in a statement.

"It demonstrates that we want to give the best young talent from New South Wales the opportunity to play professional football.

"As a club we are determined to invest time and money into identifying these young players in the hope they can go on to play and represent Sydney FC at the very highest level."