Young goalkeeper Paul Izzo concedes he may be the most nervous player on the park for Sunday’s finals-preview clash with the Central Coast Mariners, but is rapt to be making only his third appearance between the posts.
Young goalkeeper Paul Izzo concedes he may be the most nervous player on the park for Sunday-s finals-preview clash with the Central Coast Mariners, but is rapt to be making only his third appearance between the posts.
With captain and No.1 custodian Eugene Galekovic on duty with the Qantas Socceroos ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Oman next week, Izzo will take over duties in goal against the Mariners.
Izzo-s debut came in similar circumstances last December when Galekovic was on national duty for the Socceroos- East Asian Cup qualifiers, his first match ironically coming against the Mariners. On that occasion, Izzo could not prevent the Mariners from recording a 3-1 win in Gosford.
However, his home debut the following week was one to remember as the Reds rolled Melbourne Victory 4-2 in front of a crowd of over 14,000.
Preparing to make his third Hyundai A-League appearance, the 18-year-old said he is eager to make the most of his rare opportunity in goal for United.
“I-m very nervous but at the same time very excited,” Izzo said.
“It doesn-t come often, so I-ve got to make sure I take the moment with both hands.”
The talented shot-stopper hopes an early touch can settle the nerves in front of the home faithful.
“It-s always good to get a touch early to get in the mood of the game,” Izzo said.
“I-ve got Fyfey (Iain Fyfe) and Boogy (Nigel Boogaard) in front of me and they will help me through it as well.”
Izzo, who is a strong chance to represent the Young Socceroos at the U-20 World Cup in Turkey in June, hopes further game time at Australian football-s elite level can be beneficial ahead of the global tournament.
The 183cm gloveman said the experience as Galekovic-s understudy has also been valuable.
“To get some game time is a great opportunity to prepare for the (U-20) World Cup,” said Izzo.
“Training with Euge while he-s in his great form is also a way I can keep on improving.”
Kick-Off for Sunday-s game is at 6.30pm and tickets are available through Ticketek.