Sydney FC starlet Chris Naumoff says that playing in last season’s A-League decider against Melbourne Victory was his breakout moment in a campaign that also earnt him an Olyroos call up.
“Kiki’ as he is affectionately known, played 24 games for the Sky Blues last season.
The first half of the season saw the attacker start the season coming off from the bench but a string of strong performances led to the Sutherland Shire junior getting 14 first team starts.
Looking back on last season’s campaign Naumoff said his Grand Final appearance was the standout moment.
“You could say it was a breakthrough,” he told FourFourTwo.
“I started playing a lot more towards the end of the year. It was good for me with my confidence – I was at a young age, only 19 at the time. I started in a Grand Final which you know is quite the experience for someone my age.”
Naumoff’s form led to a reshuffle in the Sydney FC line up with captain Alex Brosque moving from the wing into the middle of the park.
Brosque told FourFourTwo it was a switch that benefitted both of them.
“Earlier in the season I had to play a lot of games in a position that was probably a little bit different for me and I found that I struggled,” Brosque said.
“That was more left wing rather than more central. From week to week I was struggling to get into the game, to have an impact.
“When he (Naumoff) started getting more game time and made that left wing position his, it allowed me to drift inside a bit more and to play in a position I was more comfortable in.
“As the weeks grew from then on, I felt more comfortable and the goals started going in. As for Naumoff – in the second half of the season he was fantastic.
“In the first half he was probably not playing as much as he would’ve liked. But once he took control of that position he never looked back.”
With Sydney FC bringing in new recruits like Filip Holosko – who scored on debut last weekend –fellow Olyroo Andrew Hoole and Serbian International Milos Ninkovic, Naumoff may have a battle to get on the pitch. But Naumoff says getting regular game time will be one of his main aims this season.
“My goals are to get into the starting line up as often as I can and, as always, to stay injury free and just to improve my game,” he said.
“I really want there to be no limit to my ability and to just improve each week.”
Naumoff added that getting into that starting line-up will come down to impressing coach Graham Arnold.
“I can only focus on the position that Arnie puts me in,” he said.
“I trust him in that. Whether it be on the left or the right or through the middle, I don’t really mind. I’m an attacking player and I’ve adapted in the past to different positions so wherever the coach sends me.
“Me and Arnie have a great relationship and he helps me with every aspect – not just football but off the pitch as well. I see him as a great mentor for me, so to be working with him for another year is great.”1 comment