Progress Report: Ben Garuccio
Ahead of the AFC Asian Cup in January, we're delivering weekly scouting reports on our Caltex Socceroos abroad.
This week the spotlight is on Ben Garuccio, who has enjoyed a fine start to life in Scotland for Heart of Midlothian after signing from Adelaide United in July.
Name: Ben Garuccio
Position: Left fullback, left wing-back
Caltex Socceroos record: Uncapped
Club: Heart of Midlothian
Division: Scottish Premiership
Ben Garuccio finished the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season as one of the most impressive attack-minded fullbacks in the competition.
He’s shown no signs of slowing down for the surprise Scottish Premiership pacesetters.
Positioned as the left wing-back in a back three during his first two appearances for Hearts, he’s since been deployed on the left side of a four-man defence.
It’s been a strong start to Edinburgh life for the former Adelaide United flyer.
Despite two late withdrawals against Hamilton Academical and Inverness, Garuccio has been ever-present on the left flank.
He’s supplied two assists and struck a fine free kick in the League Cup, where he’s enjoyed greater licence to get forward and deliver key passes in the final third as the team’s left wing-back.
Manager Craig Levein has not bestowed Garuccio with attacking onus of the same extent in the Scottish Premiership, but he’s impressed regardless in Hearts' flawless start to the campaign – despite being exposed defensively and physically on occasion.
Garuccio’s ability to do damage going forward was best captured in Hearts’ big 5-0 win over Inverness in July’s League Cup affair.
Fielded as the left wing-back in Hearts’ 3-4-1-2 formation, Garuccio consistently created problems on the overlap and unleashed a catalogue of attacking crosses.
One of these deliveries was headed home by striker Uche Ikpeazu, while Garuccio also hit a memorable debut goal from a dead ball 25 yards out.
Caltex Socceroos prospects
Aziz Behich has completed 90 minutes in the Caltex Socceroos' last nine outings and was one of the team’s most impressive in the recent FIFA World Cup™.
But if there’s one man who can challenge the newly-signed PSV man’s status as the left back of choice for Australia, it might just be Garuccio.
A positive beginning for the Gorgie boys should get even better once he reaches peak fitness and adapts to the physicality of the Scottish Premiership.
Once that happens, Garuccio is a strong chance to push Behich all the way as the pair battle it out with Alex Gersbach to start the AFC Asian Cup next January.