Rising star D’Agostino learning from ‘one of the best strikers in the league’
Nick D’Agostino continued his strong goalscoring form with a double against Wellington Phoenix and the Perth Glory youngster credits strike partner Bruno Fornaroli for setting the standards high.
The 21-year-old struck twice in the 4-2 triumph at HBF Park on Saturday night, making it three goals in six days for the Hyundai A-League Premiers since returning from international duty with Graham Arnold’s Australia U-23 side in January.
Glory head coach Tony Popovic was handed a blow with the news of Chris Ikonomidis’ ACL injury in midweek, while captain Diego Castro is still sidelined, but D’Agostino has stepped up since his heroics in helping the Olyroos qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The ex-Brisbane Roar forward scored three times at the AFC U-23 Championship in Thailand, including the goal which booked the Green and Gold’s first Olympics berth for 12 years in a 1-0 playoff win against Uzbekistan, and he has kept up the momentum since returning to Western Australia.
D’Agostino’s stoppage-time equaliser rescued a point for Glory against Melbourne Victory last Saturday and his brace led the Premiers to three points against their Kiwi opponents in Round 18, before Uruguayan hitman Fornaroli had the final word with a stunning strike to make it 10 goals in 16 matches in 2019/20.
“I’m always trying to learn off [Fornaroli],” D’Agostino told FOX Sports post-match.
“We know he’s got the quality,” he added.
“We just have to feed the ball into him a bit more and we know he can produce magic like that…
“He’s one of the best strikers in the league so obviously I want to learn as much as I can and keep that gelling really well, and keep that going for the weeks to come.”
A series of hip and Achilles injuries has kept D’Agostino out of the majority of the Hyundai A-League campaign so far, but three goals in three games is already his best goalscoring season since debuting for Brisbane in 2015.
D’Agostino believes his time in the international arena has improved his match sharpness and the rest of the Hyundai A-League is starting to feel the results.
“That Olyroos camp really helped, playing games every three days really helped my fitness,” said D’Agostino.
“I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt in my career so hopefully [I’ll] keep getting some more minutes and putting goals in the back of the net.”
Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City
Saturday, 15 February
Kick off: 7pm local, 5pm AEDT
Perth Glory have a bye