Djite: competition for places a gift and a curse

Robust striker Bruce Djite fully understands the disappointment that comes with not being a regular fixture in the starting eleven, but he knows that the fierce competition for places can only be a good thing.

Robust Adelaide United FC striker Bruce Djite fully understands the disappointment that comes with not being a regular fixture in the starting eleven, but he knows that the fierce competition for places in the team can only be a good thing if the club is to succeed.

After starting in the Reds- first two games of the season, Djite has come off the bench in the past three and has found himself vying for a spot at the pointy end of United-s attack with fellow marksmen Sergio van Dijk and Jeronimo Neumann.

Against Perth Glory last Sunday, Coach John Kosmina chose to go with Neumann as a lone striker with playmakers Marcelo Carrusca and Dario Vidosic in behind, meaning Djite would start on the bench, while there was no room for van Dijk.

Kosmina-s luxury of having a near full complement of players to choose from, not only in attack but right across the park, allows him to mastermind a plan each week that he believes can best account for the opposition each week.

While this is never going to always sit well with all of the players, particularly the ones that are not selected to start, Djite knows that the incredibly strong depth in the squad can only be beneficial because it keeps every player on their toes as everyone is striving their hardest on the track to break into the team.

“The coach is going to go with whoever he feels fits best for that particular game and I think that-s why we-ve had a different team every week,” Djite said.

“Maybe they (the coaching staff) see something that the other team does or something that we can do better, and when you-re spoilt with the talent we have at the club this season, then he can chop and change and still get good results because the players waiting in the wings are ready to step in and do the job.”

“We-ve got a very good squad with a lot of quality players so you-ve really got to earn your spot and that-s what I-m trying to do day in day out.”

“It-s a gift and a curse, so it-s great to have that (depth) and it-s a great dilemma for the coach to have. Everyone is fit as well…so that-s something Kossie has to handle and that-s part of being a manager, he-s going to do the best job possible but he-s got to make some tough calls and so far he-s been making the right ones because we-ve been getting some good results.”

Djite, just like any professional footballer, admits he does not enjoy missing out, but the forward who has made nine appearances for the Qantas Socceroos is remaining positive and will continue to work hard on the track to give him every chance of putting his name up for selection if he is required.

“Obviously not playing large parts of games is not in my DNA and any player that doesn-t play full games isn-t going to be happy, so you-ve got to push for it, you-ve got to push for your spot,” Djite said.

“You just go out and do the best you can. You can train all week but your chance to make an impact is during the game, so you-ve got to take the chance with both hands whenever it presents itself.”

One trait that is certainly not evident in the squad, despite the ferocious competitiveness for positions, is animosity between and towards team mates, Djite genuinely pleased for Neumann and the impact has made this season.

Although it is near impossible to keep everyone happy, Djite, who has scored 21 goals from 72 Hyundai A-League appearances, of which 23 games and 10 goals were for the now defunct Gold Coast United, firmly believes there is no reason him, Neumann and van Dijk cannot all stay at the club.

“He (Jeronimo) has come and done fantastically well which is good, and we all get along very well and this is what football is like,” Djite said.

“We-re fighting for a spot but there a lot of players fighting for their spots, it-s not only the guys up front.”

“There is a future for all of us, definitely. Like I said, it-s not just the strikers, you-ve got a lot of midfielders who haven-t been playing as well that would generally play, so each to their own, but as far as I-m concerned, I-m just concentrating on my job at the moment which is getting back into the team.”

“It-s difficult but that-s what happens when you put a lot of quality players together. I genuinely think that we-ve got a squad full of quality here. Anyone can come in and do the job. That-s what has been happening and hopefully it continues throughout the season.”

Heading into Week 7 of the season in second spot just behind the Central Coast Mariners on goal difference, the Reds- next mission is a home clash against an in form Melbourne Heart on Saturday, and Djite is anticipating another extremely tough contest against John Aloisi-s men.

“Melbourne Heart are coming off a great victory, they-ve done quite well so far and they-ve got some good players,” Djite aid.

“Their foreigners have come in and done a great job, Richard Garcia is starting to hit his straps, so we-re definitely going to have to be aware and put out another solid performance if we want to take something from the game.”

Kick-Off is at 5.00pm ACDT and tickets are available through Ticketek.