Ben Garuccio has had enough ups and downs to last an entire career. But still only at 26 years of age, the Western United left back has plenty more experiences to come and feels like he is at the top of his game.
“Yeah I think so, but it also comes together with playing in this team. You can’t do it by yourself, the boys I’m playing with every game – it makes everyone’s job easier,” he said when he asked if he thinks his current form is the best he’s shown throughout his career.
“First and foremost I’m a defender, so my first job is to keep the winger nice and quiet, and it makes my job a lot easier when I’ve got (Nikolai) Topor-Stanley, Leo (Lacroix) and Tomoki (Imai) next to me helping me out. Then obviously Youngy (Jamie Young) behind, and on the other side we’ve got Rizzo (Josh Risdon) who’s playing great as well.”
After a dream move to Hearts of Midlothian at Scotland, an ACL injury and a Premiership and Championship at Melbourne City, Garuccio’s career has almost been brought back full circle.
Now working under the two coaches that gave him his chance back when City were known as Melbourne Heart in 2012, he said that John Aloisi and Hayden Foxe have been key factors behind his strong form this season.
“It’s been unbelievable. They were the first coaches I ever had as a professional athlete. They’ve grown a lot in their roles and matured a lot as well. A lot of the things are the same, but they’ve also had time to work on their craft and build,” he said.
“The work that Foxey does with defending, everyone speaks about it but it’s so good – the little details, just to help each individual whether its body positioning or where we need to be in the box, and that’s a testament to the way we’ve defended this year.
“John has been fantastic, it’s been really enjoyable. Everyone looks forward to coming here every day and training, and obviously playing the games on the weekend.”
The Adelaide native has three assists in the A-League Men this season, the last of which came from an expertly delivered corner as he stepped into set piece duties with resident left-footer Alessandro Diamanti sidelined.
Garuccio isn’t holding his breath that that will continue, though.
“Once Dia comes back he’ll probably be straight back on them! He’s got a wand of a left foot so you can’t complain about that,” he said.
“I think Leo was happy with my set piece on the weekend. Whatever it is, if I’m on set pieces I’ll try and do my best. Free-kicks are something I work on quite a lot. I’ve scored one in my career, but Dia won’t let me forget the ones he’s scored in the Premier League.”
Garuccio and his teammates are now looking ahead to United’s titanic battle with his former side this weekend, with United and City currently locked together on 32 points at the top of the league.
The Green and Black has already beaten City twice this season, and a third in a row could be crucial heading into the final matches of the season.
“Obviously that’s what we’re going to be looking to do (win the game). We’ve played them twice already so we’re familiar with them, we know the way that they play,” Garuccio said.
“At the end of the day we’ve got to focus on ourselves and keep implementing those things that we’ve been doing all year. It starts with the way we defend, the way we set up, and after that the football speaks for itself.”
Garuccio will continue to help push Western United towards silverware this season, but his personal performances could earn him some individual honours and a long-awaited Socceroos berth in the near future.