Paul Izzo’s first appearance in the big time may have come earlier than he expected, but the 17 year old did not look out of place against the Mariners on Saturday.
Paul Izzo-s first appearance in the big time may have come earlier than he expected, but the 17 year old did not look out of place against the Mariners on Saturday.
A 17 year old goalkeeper making his first Hyundai A-League appearance in a top of the table clash could well seem a daunting proposition, but by the end of 90 minutes Izzo showed that in the role between the posts, the Reds are in good hands.
Playing away from home in a game of first versus second during a 37 degree day, it arguably does not come much tougher to make your senior debut. Such an occasion could be seen as a baptism of fire, but not appearing overawed, Izzo overcame some initial nerves to produce a solid first up performance.
The result did not go Adelaide United-s way as Izzo was forced to pick the ball out of his own net twice, but his composure, commanding demeanour of his penalty area and non fearing attitude to go out and attack high balls coming in would certainly have given Reds fans faith that he is a more than fitting backup to Eugene Galekovic.
Izzo made a superb diving save in just the 7th minute that would have gone a long way to helping to settle any early nerves, and together with the support of the four experienced defenders in front of him, the Qantas Young Socceroos keeper admitted it was a steep but beneficial learning curve.
“I was nervous but with the senior boys out there, they helped me a lot, they were with me the whole game and helped get me through it,” Izzo said after the squad touched down back in Adelaide.
On how he gauged his debut performance, Izzo stated, “Shaky but I can take a lot of positives out of it. There is a lot to learn from the game and things I can do better, so for my first performance I was pleased but at the same time disappointed about the result.”
Reds Coach John Kosmina, who left the decision on which of Izzo or John Hall would line up against the Mariners to Goalkeeper Coach Peter Blazincic, was more than pleased with Izzo-s first on field contribution.
“I thought he did well. He surprised me because he attacked a couple of early balls in the air and he did quite well with them,” Kosmina said.
“We expected him to make a couple of fumbles and the good thing was he recovered from them and that-s the important thing for a youngster…and he got on with the game so it was really good.”
With Galekovic away with the Socceroos for another week, Izzo will now brace himself for another huge step in his development and maturity as he gets ready to line up against the Reds- arch rivals Melbourne Victory in a finals type atmosphere at Hindmarsh on Friday night.
“I can-t wait,” Izzo said on running out for his first home game as a Red.
“It-s something I-ve always wanted to do - play professional football in front of my friends and my family, so I-m very keen to get into training this week.”