It has been a difficult season for Aaron Calver, but one that he has learned plenty from.
The Sydney FC defender is yet to play a minute for Graham Arnold’s side in the A-League this season as the club prepares for the third Sydney derby of the season against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night.
But that doesn’t mean the 20-year-old has had a wasted campaign.
Far from it, Calver has worked hard at training to improve his game and told The Leader he was confident of being able to do the job for the Sky Blues when called on.
“Obviously I haven’t had as much game time as I’d like,” he said.
“But I need to keep working hard because there will be opportunities coming up not just in the A-League but the Champions League as well.
“Of course [it has been frustrating].
“Every player, every footballer just wants to play.
“But I understand Arnie picks the team and it’s up to us to keep working hard to get in the team.”
As well as Saturday night’s derby and the A-League finals to look forward to, Sydney FC start their AFC Champions League campaign when they travel to Japan to face Urawa Reds next Wednesday.
Calver, who has made 18 A-League appearances since debuting as a 16-year-old, said this season had been a learning curve.
“You just have to keep staying fit and sharp,” he said.
“You can’t slacken off because if you’re thrown in and you’re not ready you’ll have missed your opportunity.
“He [Arnold] doesn’t say much, he just encourages you to keep working hard and that opportunities will come.”
You can’t slacken off because if you're thrown in and you’re not ready you’ll have missed your opportunity.Sydney FC defender Aaron Calver
The former Heathcote High School student is contracted to Sydney FC until the end of next season and is hopeful of remaining at his hometown club.
Sydney FC have won both derbies so far this season by a one-goal margin and Calver, a Helensburgh Thistles junior, said he was confident the Sky Blues could make it a hat-trick of derby wins.
“Definitely, we need the three points this weekend so we keep climbing up ladder,” he said.
“I’m sure the boys can do it.”
The Sydney derby, to be played at Allianz Stadium, kicks off at 7.30pm on Saturday night.