Reno Piscopo is eager to hit the ground running on his first game back for Wellington Phoenix following international duty with Australia U23s.
The Aussies have freshly qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after beating Uzbekistan 1-0 during the AFC U23 championships a tournament that Piscopo featured heavily.
But now the Phoenix new boy is back and ready to do some damage against the Western Australian’s on Friday night.
Straight Back In
“I feel great to be back here with the boys and the team. I had my first training session and it doesn’t feel like I was away from five weeks, a month.”
Reno Piscopo was signed from Italy after spells with Inter Milan, Torino and AC Renate. His purchase was the first time the Nix had ever paid for a player, and the 21-year-old has started well with a goal and an assist in his nine games.
But Callum McCowatt has stepped up to the plate since the Australian was whisked away on international duty - and now the Melbourne native will have to work hard to displace McCowatt from the starting line-up.
Wellington head coach Ufuk Talay sticks with those who do well, even at the expense of a first team regular. We’ve seen that played out through the introduction of Cameron Devlin, and Piscopo is willing to work his way back into the side.
But there will be no bad blood between the two young wingers as they battle for the same spot.
“There’s healthy competition in our team, if I play, I’m happy but if I don’t play I’m happy to support the team.
“It’ s no battle - we’re both young players giving it our all. If I can’t play he can, and he’s doing great in that position. It’s all friendly competition.”
Tough Run of Fixtures
The Phoenix face a big month in the A-League as they face third place Perth and second placed Melbourne City as they try to lay down a marker and make their claim for a top six finish.
Talay has cultivated a young squad and Piscopo is one of the starlets tasked with leading the charge to the top of the table. If he can mirror his Olyroos success with Wellington, it will be a very fruitful relationship indeed.