The 2021/22 season has started well for Western United, with four wins through the first six games seeing the Green and Black in third place on the Isuzu UTE A-League table.
A number of new signings have come in and made an immediate impact, while the original cast has also stepped up to contribute to the Club’s best ever start to a season.
But heading into 2022, there is still a lot more to come from John Aloisi’s side and a number of players are poised to put their stamp on the rest of the A-League Men season.
Rene Krhin arrived with an impressive CV in the off-season but has yet to take to the pitch for Western United so far this season.
But the Slovenian international is back in training and ready to make his debut in Green and Black, and with his experience and know-how in top European competitions, he has the potential to be a big part of Aloisi’s plans.
With 48 appearances for his country, Krhin is the most experienced international in the Western United squad and has played over 150 matches across Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1, including spending a treble-winning season under Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.
The 31-year-old will add quality and strength to Western United’s midfield, and his introduction into the team will be one to look out for in 2022.
Another new signing that is yet to make his first appearance is Noah Botic. The 19-year-old striker was selected to play for the Olyroos in October and is ready to go at club level now.
Botic has returned to Australia after two years in Germany, where he shone in the youth ranks at Bundesliga club Hoffenheim, featuring in the UEFA Youth League.
He made a name for himself at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil in 2019, scoring four goals and propelling the Joeys into the knockout stages.
A proven goal scorer throughout his youth career, Botic is set to make the jump into regular senior football and could push a talented attacking line-up in front of him in 2022.
Jerry Skotadis will be out to challenge Krhin and the rest of the midfield contingent for more minutes in 2022 after a promising start to the campaign.
Coming off 10 appearances in the 2020/21 campaign, Skotadis has already played twice off the bench in the A-League Men, including an impressive cameo against Adelaide United after Steven Lustica was injured in the first half.
Skotadis also impressed in Western United’s FFA Cup Round of 32 defeat against Wellington Phoenix with his high-energy display in the middle of the pitch.
The 21-year-old is in place for more opportunities throughout the season with plenty of games still to come, and he is someone that can impress in 2022 when given the chance.
Following the 2021 season where he was the inaugural Western United academy captain, Ben Collins has made the permanent leap to senior football with a first scholarship contract.
The 21-year-old made his debut in the FFA Cup in December, putting in an accomplished performance against A-League Men opposition and he has also been part of multiple matchday squads in the league so far.
Collins has impressed teammates and coaches alike over the pre-season, with Connor Pain detailing how he “improved out of sight” and has put himself in a strong position for the season ahead.
Learning from the likes of Leo Lacroix and Nikolai Topor-Stanley at the back, Collins is setting himself up for a big 2022 and could be one of United’s breakout players this year.