Wilkinson throws support behind mooted Arnold replacement

Defender Alex Wilkinson says his Sydney FC teammates would be “over the moon” if Steve Corica was appointed as Graham Arnold’s successor as Sky Blues coach.

Corica is one of a handful of candidates in the running to take the reins of the back-to-back Premiers.

The 45-year-old has achieved legend status at Sydney FC, winning two Hyundai A-League Championships as a player, including scoring the winner in the 2006 Grand Final against Wilkinson’s then club, Central Coast Mariners.

Corica has been an assistant coach at Sydney FC for the last seven years and has expressed his desire to be given a chance to continue the work of Arnold over the last two seasons.

Speaking after signing a new two-year deal this week, Wilkinson threw his support behind the man known as ‘Bimbi’.

“It’s been well documented that Stevie is up for the job and would like the job…he’d be a fantastic appointment,” Wilkinson told www.a-league.com.au.

“He’s played for the club, he’s captained the club, he’s captained the club to a Championship and he’s been assistant now for six or seven seasons so he’s very well credentialed in that department.

“He also knows the boys really well and knows the culture we’ve created in the team and what that takes to be successful.

“So for me he’s a fantastic candidate and if he was to get the job not only me but all the boys would be over the moon.”

Steve Corica celebrates his goal in the 2006 Grand Final win over Wilkinson's Mariners.
Steve Corica celebrates his goal in the 2006 Grand Final win over Wilkinson's Mariners.

Sydney FC are reportedly close to settling on Arnold’s successor, with an announcement possible in the next week.

The new boss’ first job will be trying to keep the majority of the star-studded squad together.

The likes of Jordy Buijs, Luke Wilkshire and Matt Simon have already departed the club, with as many as seven other players off-contract for 2018/19.

Wilkinson is one of the key cogs in the Sydney FC squad to commit his future to the club and is confident of maintaining the team’s high standards over the next two seasons.

“I’ve had a wonderful couple of years here since I came, I’m a Sydney boy and my wife’s from Sydney so both on and off the pitch it ticks a lot of boxes for me,” the 33-year-old said.

“We’ve got a great bunch of boys here. It’s a really good family club with a great culture so for me it was a no-brainer.

“I’m looking forward to having a bit of a break but then pressing on for next season and continuing the success we’ve had for the last two years.”

Alex Wilkinson Signs His New 2 Year Deal
Alex Wilkinson putting pen to paper on two more years at Sydney FC.

Wilkinson admits the Sky Blues are still hurting from the manner of their exit in the Hyundai A-League Finals Series but says they should be proud of what they achieved over the campaign.

“After winning the league as comfortably as we did it was a bit disappointing not to be able to defend our Championship in the Grand Final. But that’s sport sometimes things don’t go to plan, you don’t get your fairytale finish,” the ex-Caltex Socceroos defender said.

“It’s still a bit raw for the boys and we’re still a bit disappointed but once we go away on annual leave and get a bit of time to reflect on the season, we’ll still look back and realise it was a pretty successful year.”