SPORT: FFA Centre of Excellence v Sydney FC Youth at the Australian Institute of Sport in Bruce. Sydney FC Youth player George Timotheou in action. 8th February 2015. Photo by Melissa Adams of The Canberra Times. Photo: Melissa Adams Sydney FC defender George Timotheou is hoping two seasons with the best A-League team in history will see him gain a contract in Europe.
The Canberra export signed a two-year deal with the Sky Blues at the beginning of the season after two stellar campaigns with the club’s Youth League side.
Timotheou, 19, has watched from the bench during his first season in the top flight, with the teenager yet to crack into the competition’s best statistical team ever.
Sydney has dropped just one game this season to secure the most competition points and concede the fewest goals in the A-League’s 12-year history.
While he hasn’t seen any first team action, Timotheou said simply training with seasoned professionals has done wonders for his budding career.
“Being in the squad from the start of preseason and being in that environment every single day has definitely made me a lot hungrier with my the drive to get better,” Timotheou said.
“It’s about never taking your foot off the pedal and you can’t take anything for granted, if you think you had a bad session you need to fix it and get better, that’s the mindset you’ve got to have.
“Growing up in Canberra it’s hard because there’s not much of system there and you kind of have to leave Canberra just to realise how much everywhere else is ahead. I’d never never thought I’d have the goals I do today if I didn’t leave.”
Those goals included a move to Europe when his Sydney expires at the end of next season and adding to his Young Socceroos caps before eventually earning a spot in the national team.
“I’d like to play in Europe and go as far as I can, so if I have a really good season next year, play lots ot of games and do well then hopefully after that I can get over there,” Timotheou said.
The Gungahlin United junior ranked Socceroos veteran Alex Wilkinson as his most inspirational teammate.
“Obviously Wilko with us both being centre backs and everything, it’s good to see the career he’s had and I look up to him because he’s such a professional,” Timotheou said.
“To see him doing extras when he doesn’t have to but because he wants to is pure class and that rubs off on us young boys.
“Training with all the boys every day and having lunch together and mucking around, we’ve basically become a family.
“Everyone pushes you every day to get better and the coaches push you so much, even if I’m not playing on the weekend we’re still working hard and providing competition for places and that’s why we’ve been so successful this year.”
Timotheou said he’s putting in the hard yards to make sure he’s ready when the time comes and described playing under Sky Blues’ mentor Graham Arnold as a privilege.
“He’s excellent, he’s a good role model for everyone and I think the best thing is he keeps his distance, he can’t be a father figure to everyone but when he needs to be he steps in and makes sure everyone is getting the right guidance,” Timotheou said.
Sydney FC will face Perth Glory in the A-League semi-final on Saturday night and next month take on English Premier League powerhouse Liverpool in an exhibition match.
“It would be a great opportunity to get some minutes in that match because people are always watching and it would be an honour to get on the pitch against Liverpool,” Timotheou said.