Melbourne City youngster Connor Metcalfe has had a taste of first-team football and is keen to cement a place in the seniors.
The teenager has been involved with City’s set-up since 2014 and made is first-team debut in the final five minutes against Central Coast Mariners in January.
He had to wait until a fortnight ago for his second appearance though, coming on in the 86th minute against Wellington Phoenix.
Metcalfe grew up in Newcastle and has played football since he was six, knocking the ball around during recess and lunch time at school.
The midfielder idolised Socceroos legend Harry Kewell who inspired his dream of being a professional footballer.
He's now won the NYL in 2017 and represented Australia with the Young Socceroos three times – but is now targetting more first-team minutes.
“My goals for this year would be to stay fit and healthy,” Metcalfe told FTBL. “I want to try and get as many minutes as I can really.
"I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully I can get more opportunities. It’s what I’ve always wanted and then when I finally do get a taste of it - even when it’s like five or 10 minutes, I just want more of it.
"It’s a really good feeling.
“I’ve been at the club close to four years and coming up through the juniors and then finally making my debut, then getting on two weeks ago for 10 minutes has been unreal.
“I moved to Melbourne from Newcastle when I was 14 because of dad’s work and went to school in Maribyrnong for two years then Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School for two more years. I didn’t do Year 12 because I wanted to do football full-time.
“I always wanted to be a footballer as a kid. When I was younger, I once told my dad I might change to rugby league, but he said ‘Nah, mate. You’re too little for rugby’, so I just stuck at football, but I’ve always loved it.
“My dad played rugby at local level, but I was more into the soccer and then I got my parents into it. Nowadays, my parents are more into it than I ever thought they’d be!”
Metcalfe also paid tribute to Joe Palatsides for guiding him at youth level. Now the 19-year-old is keen to prove to Warren Joyce he's worthy of more senior minutes.
“We’ve got one of the best youth setups in Australia I reckon,” he said. “You look at our youth team that played two weeks ago (in a 2-0 loss to Brisbane Roar), the result wasn’t great.
"But the majority of those players were in school. Giving them experience at the age of 16 is just fantastic. For the club to have the belief in them is just great.
“Joe was really helpful for me when I started off in the u-20s. Everyone was a lot older and I looked like I was about nine years old!
"All these other guys had beards and it was just crazy, but he always believed in me and backed me.
“I eventually moved from the U20s and went up to the senior NPL team. He was just really helpful and he still is, and always has a chat with me around the club.
“Warren's shown from his youth days at Manchester United that he’s got big belief in youth players like Nathaniel Atkinson and Daniel Arzani.
"He’s always telling us to do more, do extras and put pressure on the older boys to take their spot. He really wants us to mature as players and show what we can do.”