Captain Sensible: No complacency allowed for Jamieson and City’s youth brigade

While admitting his side’s 7-0 win over Melbourne Victory was a special one for fans, Melbourne City captain Scott Jamieson and his teammates are aware of the context it came in, and the veteran defender has warned his side’s young contingent not to get ahead of themselves.

Though admittedly, their opponents were reduced to ten men and could have put up significantly more fight, coach Patrick Kisnorbo’s side showed no mercy to their in Saturday’s thrashing; Jamie Maclaren becoming just the second player to score five goals in an A-League game and Andrew Nabbout terrorising his former team throughout the opening stanza. 

Thanks to the Central Coast Mariners loss to Western United earlier that afternoon, the win moved Melbourne City to outright top of the table heading into this weekend’s fixtures and swelled their goal difference to +30 – 13 greater than the next best Mariners. 

Now with 19 goals on the season, Maclaren has found the back of the net on more occasions than Victory and Newcastle Jets’ entire squads and City’s defence is the third-stingiest in the league, with only Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar shipping less than Jamieson’s unit. 

But with Kisnorbo vociferous in his declarations that he cares little for tables or margins of victory, only performances, the scope for City to get ahead of themselves is small – even after a win the magnitude of Saturday’s. 

“Without taking anything away from it, you look at the situation that’s happening across town with [Victory] and we kind of understood the essence of it,” the City captain said. “We were playing against three points against rivals but we were playing against a club that’s on its knees. 

“For us, we enjoyed the game afterwards, sitting in the change room, [but] I kind of look at it in regards to the club we played are struggling at the moment. I’m happy for the fans, but for the players, we don’t underestimate it, you’re never going to beat Victory again 7-0. 

“You look at the way Victory is at the moment, I’m pretty sure they’re going to fix and rectify things and the opportunity to beat them six or seven to nil won’t happen again. 

“I’d rather just beat Victory, I don’t care what the scoreline is. The satisfaction doesn’t change that much – a win is a win. 

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“I probably appreciate a 1-0 or a 2-0 rather than that because it means Victory are a stronger club, which I think makes the A-League more competitive. It might sound a bit weird coming from the captain of their rivals but a strong Victory is always good for the A-League.”

Even with the contextual limitations around it, particularly impressive in City’s win was Marco Tilio. 

Subbed on in the 63rd minute, the youngster earned two assists and won a penalty during his 27 minutes on the park.

Alongside 21-year-old Stefan Colakovski, who also netted an assist, Tilio has been part of a young, devastating one-two punch off the bench for Kisnorbo in recent weeks, seemingly vindicating his decision to move to City from Sydney during the off-season. 

Alongside Connor Metcalfe, Tom Glover, and currently injured Nathaniel Atkinson they make up a strong contingent of youth at City – a group that was bolstered yesterday by the return of Anthony Lesiotis and inking of Kerrin Stokes, Max Caputo, Ahmad Taleb and James Nieuwenhuizen to new deals. 

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With the club riding as high as it is, it would be easy for its more inexperienced players, full of the cocksureness and swagger of youth, to get ahead of themselves. But Jamieson – who prior to the campaign said attempts to label the A-League a development league were “disrespectful” – warned that there was nothing guaranteed in senior football. 

“As the captain, I think it’s good that we have the opportunity to give players the privilege of playing for the club or getting a senior contract,” said Jamieson. 

“We’ve seen so many times recently that players need to work hard and create an opportunity to play. You’re not given one. It’s happened recently where young players have sought to move elsewhere because they haven’t been patient enough to work hard and they haven’t been wanting to do what’s asked of them and to trust the club’s program ahead of them. 

“They need to continue, they need to listen to the coaches and the players but they also need to trust what’s ahead of them. It’s not given, we need to understand that. It gets lost in how well the young players are doing this year in the A-League – no opportunity is given. 

“You’ve seen Marco and Stefan, how well they’ve done. They’ve earned that but they haven’t earned the right to start straight away. They need to continue doing it, keep working hard and keep listening. Those two young boys have shown that and a lot of other boys in our football club, young boys, can look at those two examples that even if you do well in 15, 20 minutes you need to do well in training, trust in the coaches and things will hopefully work out. 

“It’s hard because when you have a lot of people in the media pumping up these boys for playing well for 15 minutes but they don’t see the training programs day in and day out, they don’t see the things that have to be done. 

“We do praise the young boys and I’ve been the first to praise Marco and Stefan in the way they’ve conducted themselves over the last six to seven weeks, they’ve both been great. Throughout pre-season, they’ve had their dips but they’ve had the great last six or seven weeks.

“But 15 or 20 minutes doesn’t guarantee you a start. That’s what some in the media think. You need to do well in training every day. There are competitive positions here for everyone. They need to keep doing what they’re doing. There’s no doubt about it and hopefully, they do that.”

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Header image credit: Melbourne City

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