Promising striker John Roberts has won the Suning Cup Golden Boot after netting nine goals in four matches for Melbourne City FC as Joe Palatsides’ side finished in third place during the youth tournament in Nanjing.
The 16-year-old was a dominant force throughout the tournament, firing City to a bronze medal with a well-taken brace in a 4-3 playoff win over F.C Koln on Sunday afternoon.
Roberts set the tone for a prolific week in-front of goal with a superb hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade. His haul included several other memorable strikes, including a devastating four-goal performance in the 13-0 win over the Yili Football Association of Xinjiang.
“I’m really happy with my performances,” Roberts said. “It has been a really hard pre-season [with the Club’s A-League team] but every day is a new test for me.
“Every opportunity I get I should take. That’s what I did in this tournament and I’m really happy with that.
“This tournament has helped me a lot. It builds my confidence and it will help me leading into the A-League season.”
Academy Head Coach Joe Palatsides believes Roberts has the potential to become an important player for City in the years to come.
“It’s hard to find really good strikers," Palatsides said. "He’s a kid that just has it all; he’s quick, he’s strong, he’s good technically and can score goals."
“John's worked really hard and he’s part of the first team-set up. Having him in this tournament he’s showed great leadership skills and performed unbelievably well.”
“He deserved the top scorer award. He didn’t just score in the easy games, he scored in the hard games as well and he’s a deserved recipient."
Having signed a Scholarship contract with the Club’s A-League team, Roberts will return to pre-season training at the City Football Academy as Warren Joyce’s side continue preparations for the new season.