Ikonomidis' form warrants NAB Young Footballer of the Year accolade
Grand Final week has got off to the perfect start for Perth Glory winger Chris Ikonomidis after he was named the NAB Young Footballer of the Year in the Hyundai A-League on Monday night.
Ikonomidis was voted as the competition’s best young player, beating out an impressive field including Melbourne City duo Riley McGree and Lachlan Wales, Melbourne Victory’s Thomas Deng, Wellington Phoenix playmaker Sarpreet Singh and Keanu Baccus of Western Sydney Wanderers.
Given his impact on Glory – who won their first premiership in 2018/19 – it’s hard to argue with Ikonomidis’ capture of the prestigious award.
Joining Glory at the start of the campaign from Italian outfit Lazio, the 24-year-old ended the regular season with nine goals and three assists.
Flourishing under the guidance of Tony Popovic, Ikonomidis won a re-call to the Caltex Socceroos squad mid-season and played at January’s AFC Asian Cup.
That selection was in part due to his scintillating start to the 2018/19 Season.
The Sydney-born attacker scored four goals and set up another in the first five rounds, including a stoppage-time winner to beat Melbourne Victory in Round 2.
He repeated the feat in Round 5 against the Mariners to earn the NAB Young Footballer of the Year nomination for October/November.
Even a dislocated shoulder could not keep him down, with the youngster making a goalscoring return to the fray for Perth’s final game of the regular season, the 5-0 thumping of Wellington Phoenix.
With pace to burn, an eye for goal and a great engine, Ikonomidis proved the perfect candidate for Popovic’s demanding 3-4-3 set-up and will play a key role in the club’s quest to add the championship trophy to the premiership one already in the cabinet.