Jacob Italiano's wary of the amount of Australians that have failed to cement a career in Europe and believes development with Perth Glory will be beneficial before leaving for Germany in 2019.
It was reported before Christmas Italiano was linked to Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach as the director of sport Max Eberl admitted his interest in signing the teenager.
The 16-year-old played his ninth game for Glory in their 3-2 loss to Melbourne Victory on Saturday night and FoxSports reported pre-game that the transfer to Monchengladbach would be officially announced next week.
International transfer regulations prevent Italiano from signing until he turns 18 and it's expected he'll remain at Glory until 2019 before joining the German club.
FourFourTwo spoke to the teenager after the Victory game and he was keeping his feet on the ground, for now.
“The fact I’m staying here for a couple of years is going to help me out because I’m nowhere near the finished product now, I’m just a player with potential at the moment,” he said.
“The next couple of years here will really be me trying to reach my potential as much as I can before I move over there.
“Australian players have had success there, Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse have done well.
“I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and improving, but there’s an opportunity there and I’m looking forward to it.”
Italiano said he got to visit Monchengladbach’s facilities and could potentially join Aussie and former Brisbane Roar striker Kwame Yeboah.
“I went over there and looked at the club, they treated me really well and I think the club is still working stuff out,” he said.
“It feels really good to know clubs over in Europe… it’s not too far away, young guys in Australia, they’re always there and they’re always looking. That’s the main thing most people should take out of that, you never know that someone could be looking.”
It was only in July last year Italiano was hoping to gain an A-League professional contract after coming through the FFA Centre of Excellence.
It's been a season where Australian football has been under immense scrutiny from the fans and many have said the league needs to focus on developing youth.
With the excitement behind the A-League’s rising stars, Italiano said he was embracing the scrutiny.
“I wouldn’t say it’s difficult being thrown into the limelight so early,” Italiano said.
“I think it’s actually helped me out because they’ve placed their confidence in me. It’s more just that pressure, but it’s always going to be there throughout my career.
“Kenny (coach Kenny Lowe) tells me I’m here for a reason and to just go out and show people why I’m here. He tells me to be relaxed and keep the ball when you need to, but when you’re in the final third and have room, just do what got you here in the first place.
“It’s been really good getting regular first-team football, I’ve been really enjoying it.
“If I compare myself to what I was in July, I think I’m a completely different player thanks to my teammates. Diego Castro, Mitch Nichols, Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart have all really helped me with my role and where I want to be when I grow up.”