Fresh from their first starts of the 2021/22 Isuzu UTE A-League Men season, Nicolas Milanovic and Jerry Skotadis joined The Green Room on FNR to speak about the opportunity as well as their own footballing journeys.
The two Western United youngsters both developed their footballing talents in New South Wales and both played in the youth ranks at Western Sydney Wanderers, but it wasn’t until they met at Western United that they met each other and friendship blossomed.
“We met when I moved here, because I was obviously here after him. We had the hub in Sydney, and then after that we moved in together, so ever since then we’ve been best mates,” Milanovic explained.
The group been able to reminisce on their meeting in the Sydney hub with a return to the Coogee Beach base for this current two-match away stand, something Milanovic said the entire squad is relishing.
“All week the boys have been buzzing for it, because we’ve gone back to our old coffee spots, the smoothie place down the road – everyone’s buzzing for it,” he said.
Tuesday night’s match was a particularly special one for Milanovic, who not only made his first ever A-League Men start, but also scored his first ever senior goal.
“It was actually really surreal, it was a really good feeling,” he said.
“You come off the bench so many times thinking ‘I’m going to score’, but you don’t get the chance in those minutes, so when I was starting, I was like ‘ok, I can actually get one today’. It was a really good play and Benny (Garuccio) put it on a platter. If I missed that one I would’ve been spewing.”
Skotadis and Milanovic talk role models at Western United
Both Milanovic and Skotadis came into the midfield trio against Macarthur, replacing two of Western United’s most influential players in Alessandro Diamanti and Neil Kilkenny, respectively.
“For me, Kilkenny has probably been the best midfielder in the league for a while one. I look up to him in training every day, learn things from him. I try to base my game off him, so it’s good to look up to him,” Skotadis said.
“Everyone knows Diamanti – he’s quality. So it was big shoes to fill, but he spoke to me as well before the game. He just told me, ‘like you play in the second team in training, where there’s no pressure and you just play your game, just do the same thing. Be calm, confident, attack, get in the box, don’t overcomplicate things’.
“So yeah, he said to me ‘you do all that, you’ll score’, so at half-time he comes to me and he’s like, ‘I told you!’ He was buzzing for me, which was really good.”
With their first breakthrough into the starting XI achieved this year, both players are going in search of more for the remainder of the season, and Skotadis says the group is setting some big goals.
“More minutes under the belt (as an individual goal), and as a team, we want to win it (the A-League Men Championship),” he said.
To hear the full interview and to catch up on past episodes of The Green Room, visit the page on the Western United website. Tune in every Wednesday from 7pm for a new episode each week.