Stand-in Perth Glory Captain Michael Thwaite has spoken of his pride in the teams’ fighting ability, following an exhilarating 4-2 win over Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium last night.
Stand-in Perth Glory Captain Michael Thwaite has spoken of his pride in the teams- fighting ability, following an exhilarating 4-2 win over Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium last night.
The 30-year-old defender was instrumental in leading Perth-s starting XI against the Phoenix which featured seven players under the age of 21, including starting-game teenage debutants Danny De Silva (16) and Riley Woodcock (18).
“I-m very proud of the ‘Young Boys FC- last night and it looks good for the future of Perth Glory but in saying that, I think the senior players really stood up as well. The likes of Steven McGarry and Vukovic as well were outstanding. It was great end-to-end football,” Thwaite said.
Glory took the lead in the 15th minute after Sidnei Sciola Moraes launched a left-footed rocket from outside the 18-yard box before the New Zealand side hit back with goals to Stein Huysegems and Paul Ifill to go 2-1 up early in the second half. It was then Thwaite-s turn to step up with the 190cm defender leading the fight back by scoring his first goal of the season after getting on to the end of a Sidnei free kick to make it 2-2.
Adrian Zahra marked his recall to the senior squad by scoring Glory-s third before Sidnei scored his second of the match in injury time, managing to squeeze his shot under Phoenix keeper Glenn Moss- arms.
Thwaite said he enjoyed the responsibility of leading the young players around him and was particularly pleased for Zahra and Ndumba Makeche who both came on in the 70th minute in place of Ryan Edwards and Jamie Maclaren to help the Glory team grind out a gutsy win.
“I really enjoy yelling at the young fellas [smiling]. Sometimes you forget how young they are and their just trying to find their feet in the A-League as well so I probably went a bit too hard on them last night but when you get a result like that, you can always talk to them after and say ‘look don-t take it personally- but we want to bring a winning mentality here.”
“I thought Adrian and Ndumba were excellent when they came on and they really helped us turn the match around. It-s never easy to come into a match and perform at your best after missing so many senior games but their attitude has been first-class all season and they really deserved their chance.”
Thwaite missed the opening two games of the season for Glory but has not missed a match since then, playing seven, 90 minute games, underlying his importance to the team. The fringe Socceroo last played for the national team in the 2013 East Asian Cup under Holger Osieck but is hoping his form and game consistency catch the eye of new Head Coach Ange Postecoglou.
“You got to believe you-re a chance as long as you-re playing regularly and playing well, so I think you-ll be on Ange-s radar. As you see, there-s a lot of injuries and guys that aren-t playing regularly at the moment so it-s all about good timing and trying to get involved in that camp in March,” Thwaite said.
With Spain, The Netherlands and Chile being confirmed as the Socceroos- group opponents in the World Cup group draw overnight, the versatile defender said it was exciting times ahead of Brazil 2014.
“It-s a very exciting group. It-s almost going to be like playing a quarter final, a semi final and a final in the one group because all those teams have the potential of doing great things in the World Cup.”
“You only have to look at the last World Cup and two of those teams were in the final so it-s going to be very challenging but Australians love the underdog mentality … so up the underdogs.”