Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce says he is enjoying the hype around Nathaniel Atkinson, but he wants the teenager to gain some momentum with his game time.
Atkinson made his A-League debut in City’s 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners last week and managed the full 90 minutes at AAMI Park.
The 18-year-old has experience with the Young Socceroos and impressed many fans after his performance on Sunday.
Joyce hinted the public would see plenty more of Atkinson in the seniors this season.
“It’s just one game, you don’t just want to be a one-game wonder, you’ve got to build on that, get the consistency in training, so that people are talking about him for years to come and not wondering what happened to him,” Joyce said on Thursday.
“He’s a level-headed kid, he’s got to keep doing the things he’s done to impress and to give himself a chance to get in the team.
“I think the hype with him is good, but you’ve known for a while he’s a good player and you know what he needs to improve on.
“You want to see Australian football keep progressing and kids coming in, showing they’ve got talent and that they can compete with everybody else and kids in other countries.”
Atkinson got his chance against the Mariners in place of the suspended Manny Muscat.
The teenager showed his versatility on Sunday, being able to play fullback, winger and in the midfield.
And Joyce believed some youngsters needed luck to progress.
“There’s a fine line and small window of opportunity, people need a bit of luck as well as help just to get a chance to prove what they can actually do,” he said.
“I believe there’s talent here at this club, there’s certainly talent in the state of Victoria that needs developing. It’s just getting opportunities for them to show everybody else how good they are.
“I think everybody likes to see their own (countrymen) do well, don’t they? They all want to see a local lad get into the side and do well. I think that’s all fans are excited by that throughout the world. You don’t know what levels they can achieve.”
City lock horns with Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Friday night and the Sky Blues currently top the table with a five-point lead.
Bruce Kamau missed out on last week’s match with a knee problem and won’t be involved against Sydney.
Joyce’s team sit third and could be nine-points behind top spot should they lose to Graham Arnold’s men on Friday.
The City boss said there was a long way to go this season, but respects what Arnold has done.
“I think Graham has proved himself as a good manager and his side has certainly shown that,” Joyce said.
“You’re here to meet some of these people, talk to them, look at them and study them as well. That’s what I’ve enjoyed about coming to this country.”