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The A-League youngsters seizing their opportunity because of Olyroos absences

12:00 AM IST 18/01/18
Daniel Arzani Melbourne City
Several talented kids have emerged from the doom and gloom of the Olyroos player drain from the A-League

​The Olyroos have deprived several A-League clubs of players for the current AFC under 23 championships

But since the tournament has started, several youngsters have taken their chance with their clubs to show that youth can shine if given the opportunity.

Daniel Arzani (Melbourne City)

There is probably a good chance the super-talented 19-year-old would have earned his shot before seasons end regardless, but the Olyroo absence of Bruce Kamau and Stefan Mauk has helped to fast-track this process.

The Australian of Iranian descent is a defender's nightmare - with the ability to run at them with trickery and pace - and even at his tender age, is already attracting multiple defenders to try and curb his influence.

One of the biggest compliments paid to Arzani is the willingness of City's best player Ross McCormack to get the youngster on the ball.

You can clearly see the Scottish attacker, who has benefited from two assists by Arzani already, understands it's the team's best opportunity to create a chance.

Despite only having 193 minutes of A-League football under his belt this season,  watching Arzani develop is going to be an exciting time for Australian football fans.

 

Ryan Strain (Adelaide United)

The young full-back earned his opportunity after Michael Marrone's straight red card in the FFA Cup final against Sydney FC.

He made his debut the first week Marrone wasn't available, in a 2-0 win against Western Sydney Wanderers, and has shone defensively, but also in his endeavour to attack down the flanks.

Strain has started every A-League match for the Reds since and has proven his versatility by playing at both left and right back - despite his natural position being the latter.

The 20-year-old has made the left-back role his own after Ben Garuccio headed off for Olyroo duty and it will be a battle for his teammate to displace him upon return from the AFC Under 23 Championships.

 

Lachlan Wales (Central Coast Mariners)

The 20-year-old winger made his debut last season with a four-minute substitute appearance against Melbourne Victory, but his performance against the same team in Geelong on January 6 made observers stand up and take notice.

Wales changed the game in his 20-minute cameo in steaming conditions at GMHBA stadium, terrorizing a tired Victory defence and setting up an equaliser with a clever slide pass to Blake Powell.

Since then he has started both Mariners matches and his impressive set piece delivery contributed to both goals scored by the Mariners in their recent 2-2 draw with Melbourne City.

If it wasn't for the absence of Daniel De Silva and Andrew Hoole with the Olyroos, Wales would have been down the pecking order for an opportunity with the first team.

Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (Adelaide United)

Because of several key injuries and George Blackwood's selection with the Olyroos, 18-year-old Stamatelopoulos was given an opportunity in the last six minutes against Western Sydney Wanderers on January 10.

The young striker responded by scoring the equaliser in a 1-1 draw and his movement to be in the right spot to lash home the cut back was ultra impressive.

He was handed a start in the Reds next match against Sydney FC and he worked tirelessly against the best defence in the A-League, standing out with his first touch and speed.

With Baba Diawara likely to be a medium-term absentee, Stamatelopoulos should get plenty more chances from Reds coach Marco Kurz.

Walter Scott (Perth Glory)

The 18-year-old was given his chance because of a neck injury to Joseph Mills - not because players on Olyroo duty - but was a standout in Perth Glory's 3-2 loss to Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

Given the tough task of marshalling Kosta Barbarouses, Scott did an admirable job, getting forward to provide a pinpoint cross for Scott Neville's goal, while also making several crucial interceptions.

While Scott was the closest defender to Barbarouses when the Kiwi got behind to score the winner, it was set up by a brilliant pass from Leroy George and the teenager will learn from his positioning.

But the amount of times he halted Victory attacks with quality defending shows there is plenty of talent for Kenny Lowe to work with.