Alex Gersbach and Luke Wilkshire never played together.
In 2014, while 17 year old Gersbach was just igniting his European aspirations at Sydney FC, 36 year old Wilkshire's decorated spell on the continent was drawing to a close.
Wilkshire had played nearly 400 games across Europe, from the quiet county boroughs of Teeside to the devastatingly war-torn region of Chechnya. When Gersbach celebrated his first birthday, Wilkshire had already joined Premier League side Middlesborough.
As history had it, Australia's most-renowned fullback returned to the Sky Blues less than a year after one of our most exciting fullback prospects had departed. Thus, the Socceroo legend's wealth of experience narrowly slipped through the cracks while Gersbach was stuck on a bench in Trondheim.
Wilkshire had left Australia at 17, made his Premier League debut by 22, made the second round of the World Cup by 25 and spent the comfort years of his mid-30s tearing shreds from opposing attackers in a region where fans bring machine guns to football matches.
Meanwhile Gersbach's career, encompassing the same lofty potential, is traversing a very different path. Still sweating bench positions and on the verge of losing top tier status once again, in hindsight, Gersbach could maybe have used a little of Wilkshire's advice right now...
The now 21-year-old blazed through the ranks at Sydney to become a schoolboy Sky Blues hero soon after his 17th birthday.
Gersbach's blistering pace and dynamism was complemented by an air of confidence - he looked equally comfortable crowding a perplexed winger out for a throw-in or bamboozling an opposing fullback to swing in a cross.
He quickly cemented himself as the A-League's wunderkind of the 2015/16 season, but there was no arrogance or shift in Gersbach's demeanour. He always seemed subtle and softly-spoken: traits he hardly showed on the pitch.
In this way he was more than a little resemblant to his Socceroos predecessor and Sydney successor. But the moment Gersbach was lured from the sunny shores of Sydney to the biting fjords of Norway, things slowly began to sour.