Marco Tilio sparked Melbourne City to a 3-0 win on Friday night but his coach has refused to guarantee him a spot in the XI going forward.
It’s been well documented that breaking into Patrick Kisnorbo’s Melbourne City outfit is not easy.
However, Marco Tilio’s Man of the Match performance in City’s 3-0 win over Newcastle Jets has provided Kisnorbo with a major selection headache going forward.
Despite playing a pivotal role in City’s run to the Championship run last season, Tilio has been starved of starting opportunities this season.
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Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout and Mathew Leckie have largely filled Kisnorbo’s front three while Florin Berenguer and Connor Metcalfe have on most occasions taken up the advanced midfield roles – meaning the 20-year-old has been on the outside looking in.
Although Tilio was subbed off in the first-half of their midweek loss to Adelaide United due to calf tightness, the young forward was given another chance as a result of Metcalfe being rested.
Tilio took his opportunity with aplomb, coming away with two assists to go along with an overall brilliant showing.
“As you know, Marco’s a player that obviously needs games to improve,” Kisnorbo said.
“That’s reality: he’s only young. A performance like this, it helps,
“I thought he was good at times, I thought sometimes he was a bit sloppy but that’s part of the learning.”
When questioned if Tilio’s performance made it harder for him to be dropped, the City boss remained coy about whether he would remain in the starting line-up.
“No, it makes it even easier. No one’s guaranteed anything,” Kisnorbo said.
“Just because someone’s had a good performance, it doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed,
“There’s competition for places and my job is to give the best starting XI for the start of the game.”
Kisnorbo also paid tribute to Metcalfe, who signed a three-year deal with German club St Pauli this week and will link up with them at the end of the season.
“He’s done really well to get himself that opportunity,” Kisnorbo said.
“We can help him and we can push him but end of the day, it’s up to the individual player. So I’m delighted for him,
“It’s a good story because not everyone can go overseas. People these days think it’s easy. But look what Connor’s had to go through just to get a chance and he’s not even guaranteed next year to play.
“But he’s given himself that opportunity to play, hopefully in the Bundesliga … It’s great, hopefully it’s part of a big journey for him.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle coach Arthur Papas lamented two key moments in the second-half which came to bite his side after a promising start to the game.
“First half, probably our best half since we returned from the break. Then you concede on halftime,” Papas said.
“The game changes in two moments in the second half … It’s a poor turnover … and it leads to a goal.
“Two minutes later … Taylor (Regan) fouls on the edge of the box and gets a second yellow,
“Ten men when you’re playing Melbourne City, doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, they’re obviously going to put us to the sword.”