Central Coast Mariners forward Bernie Ibini has been nominated for the A-League's Young Footballer of the Year award, having scored three goals in February
|By GOAL AUSTRALIA
Bernie Ibini believes his trial at Belgian outfit Club Brugge has contributed to his improved form, leading to his nomination for the A-League's Young Footballer of the Year award.
The Central Coast Mariners attacker was announced as the February nomination for the honour, which is awarded to the competition's outstanding Under-21 player at season's end.
Ibini had struggled to find consistency early in the 2012-13 season, but was linked with a departure from the Mariners when he joined Club Brugge for a training stint in January.
Despite reportedly impressing in several matches for the reserves side, Ibini, 20, returned to Gosford and has since scored three goals in seven appearances.
With all three of those goals coming in February, Ibini was announced the fifth nomination of the season for the award. Tom Rogic - Ibini's team-mate at the Mariners before his departure to Celtic in January - had been the club's first nomination this season.
"The [Mariners] coaching staff has given me a lot of belief to go out and perform," Ibini said via statement.
"[But] I think going over [to Belgium] was a great experience for me. For me it was a ten out of ten experience and it helped me to come back with a lot more confidence to show what I can do."
Nigeria-born Ibini also spoke of the grounding he and several other youngsters - like Rogic and goalkeeper Mat Ryan - have had at the Mariners.
"It's good to be the second player nominated from the Mariners this year, I think it shows how well the coaching staff has done with the young boys."