Blackwood makes big strides in ACL

Sydney FC’s talented young forward, George Blackwood, said the team’s continuing AFC Champions League campaign had seen him make the strides with his game that he felt he didn’t make in the A-League last season.

George Blackwood

Source: Getty Images

“It has done a lot for me. I’ve gained a lot of confidence from it,” Blackwood told The World Game. “I’ve started to string some good performances together.

“I thought during the season I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but then I got to start a game in the Champions League against Pohang away and I thought I did OK and I really pushed on from there and played a few games I probably should have pulled out earlier in the season.

“Not everything goes according to plan and I’m glad I’ve started to play a bit better and make a difference up front. That’s what I want to do, I want to create goals and I want to score goals.

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“I want to make something happen and I think that’s what I’ve started to do in the last few games we’ve played. It’s been a hugely valuable experience to me.”

Blackwood started on the right wing in the first leg of the round of 16 tie against Chinese team Shandong Luneng, in which Sydney got a valuable away goal in a 1-1 draw. He is expected to again feature in the return leg at Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night.

“Just getting that extra game-time alongside the great players we’ve got has helped me develop,” he said. “I feel like I’ve improved so much in the past six or seven weeks and that’s just from playing games  and getting them under my belt.

“We’ve had seven games in the Champions League and I’ve played in five of them. I was on the bench in the other two, but wasn’t used.

“The coaching staff has been great for me. ‘Arnie’ (Graham Arnold) and ‘Bimbi’ (Steve Corica), they don’t overload me with information, they just give me the right amount of advice and that has enabled me to put the right performances together.

“I think playing different positions across the front-line, either in the centre, or on the right, or even a bit on the left as well, has helped me adapt and grow as a player and I’m really thankful to the coaches for giving me that experience.



“I enjoyed it a lot, playing on the right with Rhyan Grant behind me in the first leg of this tie. I like playing in lots of different positions because it helps me become a better player. I’m enjoying every minute of it and just soaking it all up.”

Playing two-legged ties can be tricky to adjust to, even if you appear to hold the advantage going into the second leg as Sydney do. Blackwood said the Sky Blues would not make the mistake of sitting back and waiting to see how things panned out.

“We’ve got to go out with the aim of winning the game and try to do everything we can to make that happen,” he said. “We’re not underestimating the opposition, but we’ve got the crucial away goal and we’re confident going into this game.”


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3 min read
Published 23 May 2016 at 12:57pm
By Greg Prichard