Joyce: ‘Every place is up for grabs’

There will be almighty fight for places in the Melbourne City starting eleven this season, says Warren Joyce.

City are set for their first competitive minutes in tomorrow night’s FFA Cup Round of 32 clash against Brisbane Roar at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium.

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It’s the first of what the Melbourne boss hopes will be many selection headaches to come, and a great chance for some of the City youngsters to make the 53-year-old sit up and take notice.

“Every place is up for grabs at the minute,” Joyce told the Melbourne City official website.

“It’s up to the younger players to stake a claim every day, not just in the games, to show that they’re worth an opportunity.

“And if they get an opportunity they’ve got to make the most of it and stay in the side as some of the kids did last year.”

Caltex Socceroos’ starlet Daniel Arzani’s rise to prominence will undoubtedly be fresh in the minds of Melbourne City’s talented roster of youth.

Fullback Nathaniel Atkinson’s path to first team football is another example that prospective talents could be looking to emulate in the upcoming season, starting with tomorrow night’s FFA Cup encounter.

Among such talent is new signing Lachlan Wales, who signed on for City from Central Coast Mariners in May and started both matches of the club’s recent India tour.

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17-year-old Mitch Graham and 18-year-olds Ramy Najjarine and Dylan Pierias, who made his first team debut for City in February 2017, are also some of the names hoping for minutes against John Aloisi's side.

Pierias was 16 years old when he played 90 minutes against Brisbane Roar in a 2-2 draw that day, becoming the first player born in the 2000s to feature in the Hyundai A-League.

While the FFA Cup encounter will be crucial in setting the standard for City’s season, Joyce says his squad cannot afford to adopt a one-off view for the match.

“The test is on them every day to conduct their self in an professional manner and to try and be the best they can be," he said.

"The game just gives them a chance to show some of the things we’ve been doing and try and really focus on trying to build a team towards the start of the season.

“For me, you just want to win every game you play in so you approach it exactly the same and it’s as simple as that.”