Keen edge puts Daggers a cut above


The year just keeps getting better for Roar teenager Nick D’Agostino, who tomorrow leaves with the Joeys squad to play in France ahead of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile in October.

“I am really excited. To play for your country is a privilege and an honour,” D’Agostino said today.

“I’m just happy to be picked and so close to the (Under-17) World Cup particularly.”

This time last year, D’Agostino was a Gold Coast schoolboy playing at weekends for the Young Roar in the Foxtel National Youth League.

That all changed in a 2015 he surely will remember forever.

In addition to playing international football with the Joeys, D’Agostino was called into the Roar Hyundai A-League squad and got 28 minutes in the friendly against Liverpool FC.

“Daggers”, as he is called by team mates and friends, also saw game time in the Roar’s pre-season workout against Champions Melbourne Victory on the Gold Coast last weekend.

“It is good playing with the older boys in the A-League squad. There’s a lot higher intensity, you have to perform to stay there,” D’Agostino said.

“Liverpool was a great experience for me, especially as a 17-year-old, and it was great to get 25 minutes against Melbourne Victory, the A-League champions.”

D’Agostino also scored a cracker of a goal when he put in 90 minutes for the Young Roar in their 2-1 PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland win over Redlands United FC on Sunday.

Nick D'Agostino

Brisbane Roar Head Coach John Aloisi said D’Agostino was working hard to make the most of every opportunity that has come his way in the last 12 months.

“We are not afraid that if someone is good enough, it doesn’t matter about their age,” Aloisi said of promoting D’Agostino to the first-team training squad.

“Nick has shown that he been able to cope with the higher level of intensity and he is improving.

“I have seen in the short period I have been here how much he has come along.

“I am really pleased that his progression has been great and if he keeps on working hard he will get his opportunities – and that’s what we all want.”

The Joeys tomorrow travel to Paris where they will play the French Under-17s and the United States Under-17s.

They have a tricky group at the World Cup, pitted against European powerhouse Germany, South American giants Argentina and Mexico.

Aloisi, a 57-cap Socceroo, urged all the players in the Joeys squad to make the most of this tour, and if selected, the Under-17 World Cup.

“You are representing your country and that means everything,” said Aloisi, who famously scored the penalty that took Australia to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

“It is great to play in these tournament as you are playing against other national teams and you get to test yourself against the best.

“Nick will go into this tour confident that he has been training with great players and players that have played at the highest level.

“It is important that he takes that confidence from what he is doing here (at the Roar) into the national team and hopefully has a big tournament.”

Nic D'Ágostino

Joeys coach Tony Vidmar is looking forward to the challenges in Chile.

The Joeys start their tournament against Germany on October 18 at the Estadio Municipal Nelson Oyarzún Arenas, Chillán, 400km south of Santiago.

“We’re coming up against three powerhouse countries in world football but that is what you expect at the World Cup,” Vidmar said.

“Australia is not going to get any better exposure, or a better chance to test ourselves against the best in the game, than this.”