Thomas Deng was humble as ever after his debut for J-League giants Urawa Reds, against no less than Ange Postecoglou's Yokohama F Marinos.
Deng has been virtually thrown straight into the reckoning at Urawa, although he won't feel the pressure of playing in front of the Japanese club's usual cohort of 30,000 fans due to the empty COVID19 stadiums.
He made his debut in a snore-fest of a 0-0 draw against reigning champions, Postecoglou's Yokohama side, who have had an anonymous start to the season.
Urawa were, however, under significant pressure at times but managed to stay surprisingly resilient throughout given last season's defensive issues and a new-look backline.
Deng couldn't have hoped for much more for a defender's debut, but after the match he was focused on improvement for his J-League future.
“It was great to make my debut against the former champions,” Deng told the Japan Times.
“They’re a very quality side. For me tonight was quite difficult at certain times, but me and my teammates communicated very well and we were able to shut them down at important times.
“For me, it was quite difficult to get to know my teammates and also learning the tactics and what my role for the team was.
“Having these last four months has been good for me (in order) to really understand what I need to do and what my teammates require from me.
“It was great to play against Ange Postecoglou, another Australian coach I’ve known for a long time and someone I look up to. It was good to see him again.
“I’ve only been here for a few months, but I’m going to get better and better,” Deng said. “I’m sure I’m going to improve a lot in the next few years, and I feel like I can achieve something here.”