Youngster Warland striving for regular first-team action

Still only 19-years-old, new signing Riley Warland is an old head on young shoulders having already gathered a heap of experience over his fledging career, however, he knows the battle he’s in for if he wants to feature regularly for the Newcastle Jets.

Veterans Matt Jurman and Jordan Elsey currently look to be the two names that will feature in the centre of the defensive line to start the new Isuzu UTE A-League season, but there are young players across the squad vying for their spots should an opportunity arise.

Warland has already got A-League experience under his belt having played five matches for Perth Glory earlier this year.

The young centre back says while the experience of players like Jurman and Elsey is invaluable for him, his personal goal for the season is collect as many first-team minutes as he can.

“They’ve [Jurman and Elsey] been there for me since day one,” Warland said about his fellow centre backs.

“They want the best for me, and they want to see me start as well…I’m soaking up a lot about their game.

“[But] there’s only two centre half positions. I want to be pushing them and stepping on their toes…I’m going to make sure that every week I’m going to make it tough for the boss to pick two centre-halves.”

Despite his young age, the Perth-native has already enjoyed a variety of pre-season environments including a season in the UK.

It wasn’t too long ago that Warland was testing himself in England, where he gained an understanding of what consistent competition looks after making nine appearances in the U18s Premier League for Fulham.

The youngster believes his time overseas has helped to quickly mature his game, but has also already seen great improvements in himself since joining the Jets in early July.

“Going over there at such a young age, I think it that’s definitely improved my mentality and attitude,” he said.

“Pre-seasons definitely been hard, but as a collective, I think we’ve all done really well.

“The standard is amazing. From the youngest boys, to the oldest, everyone has impressed me with their work rate.

“Over the last months, I’ve seen a lot of improvement in myself.”

As Warland looks to learn from his senior players and new coaching staff, he praised the team for helping him quickly adapt to life in Newcastle and with the Jets. He’s determined to repay their faith in him.

“I love the coaching staff here, they are looking after me really well,” he said.

“They have made sure I’m looked after, and they treat me like a real player here and I can’t thank them more for that. I’m grateful for the opportunity that I’ve got here.

“I want to show the boss what I can do, and show the fans what I’m about and what the badge means to me.”


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