Connor Chapman’s pre-season saw the young defender deal with injury and illness. However, his long-awaited debut and standout performance on Sunday was no surprise to the Melbourne City FC coaching staff.
Chapman’s tumultuous off-season was fraught with a bout of glandular fever that prevented him from travelling with the squad to Manchester.
The Olyroo and former Newcastle Jet spent most of his early preparation on an individual program and worked through the Foxtel National Youth League side to take his chance on Sunday.
From the three matches Chapman played with the FNYL side, FNYL Head Coach Joe Palatsides knew it was matter of when, not if, the central defender would be part of the senior side.
“He is going to be a great asset for this Club,” Palatsides said.
“We always knew Connor was a quality talent. Not only for the youth team, but there is no doubt that he will knock down the door for senior selection week in, week out.”
After the disappointing result in Wellington, the opportunity for Chapman to enter the side and Head Coach John van’t Schip felt Chapman well and truly stepped up to the mark on Sunday.
“Looking at where he came from, I think he played a decent game,” van’t Schip said.
“He was controlled, he was disciplined, he tried to play out from the back when he could. The times that he had the ball he tried to look forward and had a few good cross passes and interceptions so he looked very strong.
“[He looked] composed with Patrick (Kisnorbo) together in the centre so I'm happy he’s back in and he’ll give the squad some extra competition in the back.”
With competition rife for the central defending position, Chapman has thrown his hat in the ring as one of the contenders going forward with his performance on Sunday.