Ange’s philosophy extends to Victory youth
A-League's most successful coach, Ange Postecoglou. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
The National Youth League (NYL) kicked off this weekend with Melbourne Victory defeating Adelaide United 3-0. And it was obvious Ange Postecoglou’s philosophy was implemented by Victory’s youth side.
NYL coach Darren Davies Victory setup with the same system as the senior side did on Friday night against the Reds, in which the seniors ran out 2-1 victors.
Lawrence Thomas started in goals, as Tando Velaphi started his first A-League game for the season, while the back four comprised of former AIS graduate Kobbie Boahene on the right, former Port Melbourne fullback Dylan Murnane on the left, while Nick Ansell and Sam Gallagher were in the centre, the latter solid throughout.
Just like the A-League side, Thomas with Ansell and Gallagher buildup from the back without any long punts up field as the central defence duo were composed at the back with ball at feet.
Unlike Matt Foschini and Adama Traore, Boahene and Murnane didn’t push forward as much as the senior duo, since Adelaide winger Awer Mabil and John Karatzas kept the duo on their heels with some rampant attacks. In midfield Diogo Ferreira and Leigh Broxham sat in the centre.
Ferreira played a similar role to Mark Milligan on Friday night, dropping deep to receive the ball, while at times sitting in between his two centre-backs as the former Young Socceroo was the bouncer, assisting his defenders by finding a way out of defence. Therefore, Ferreira, like Milligan, gave his defenders an option as he started all the plays from the back in a deep playmaker role.
Broxham had a similar task to Billy Celeski further up the pitch linking up Ferreira and the fullbacks to the two number 10s or false nines.
Marcos Flores and Gui Finkler’s roles were mirrored as well, as ex-Melbourne Knights playmaker Jake Nakic and Young Socceroo Luke O’Dea played in the advanced midfield position, the two number 10s, or as some see it as, the two false nines.
While out wide Theo Markelis showed glimpses of form down the left, cutting onto his preferred right foot and caused the Adelaide defence with plenty of problems and was credited with the assist of the first goal, an own goal via Markelis’ pass.
Seventeen-year-old Chris Cristaldo started on the right, who was in fact close to an A-League debut on Friday night but just missed so waited and hoped as an emergency. The son of Victor, a former Leicester City youngster, marauded down the right flank with his blistering pace, working his socks off, but with no end product.
Even the substitutes stuck to the same game plan as Isaka Cernak replaced Markelis on the left at half-time and tucked away the second from a quality Nakic ball, while Julius Davies replaced the jetlagged O’Dea who just got back from Portugal with the Young Socceroos.
Like O’Dea, Davies played through the centre linking up with Cristaldo on the right, and also went close with a curling effort.
Nakic, O’Dea and Julius Davies were the advanced linchpins and with the wingers they were responsible for both creating and finishing their chances, just like Nakic did, setting up Cernak before pouncing on a defensive mistake and slotting the third.
With the Melbourne Victory Youth side now ran by Victory themselves, instead of FFV like in previous seasons, Postecoglou with Darren Davies can progress the youngsters in any style to reach one aim, to give the youth players a chance at A-League level.
Some of these youngsters in fact train with the senior side and some double up with two sessions a day, with Postecoglou and the seniors in the morning, before backing up with Darren Davies and his youth side in the evening.
Kudos out to Victory, and other sides like Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne Heart, who believe their youth players should integrate with the seniors. Every session with the senior side progresses a youngster one way or another, while the seniors who drop down to the youth side aren’t seen as strangers.
Postecoglou won’t be afraid either to introduce any youngster to A-League football, just like with Andrew Nabbout last week, who is currently injured, and just like the former Roar Coach almost did with Cristaldo this round.
Despite a poor start of the season, the youth side with a senior win gave Melbourne Victory and victory fans a sense of progression and success not too far away, even if it isn’t silverware.
Follow Daniel on Twitter: @Quinby07