YOUTH IN FOCUS: van’t Schip confident in Archibald ability

All eyes have been on a certain Spanish World Cup winner this week.

But while Sydney FC will look to contain David Villa up one end of the pitch, up the other end young Melbourne City FC defender Ross Archibald is tasked with keeping Sydney FC’s strike-force at bay.

Having made his debut for the Club last season in the Melbourne Derby – playing the final eight minutes of the 4-0 win – Archibald may well be called into action from the first whistle this Saturday night.

With first-choice right-back Jason Hoffman carrying a one-match suspension across from last season into Round 1, Archibald has been working closely with van’t Schip as cover at the back.

Connor Chapman is another defender sidelined through an ailment, giving Archibald the opportunity to play. The former Newcastle Jets man has suffered from glandular fever during the off-season which has hampered his fitness and preparations.

van’t Schip said he was confident the 20-year-old Archibald - who travelled with the Club to Manchester for the team's pre-season camp - could play a significant role in Hoffman’s absence.

“Ross is a player who has played in the whole pre-season and almost every game and he has developed very well,” van’t Schip said.

“So we are very happy about his progress and he is certainly going to be part of the group tomorrow.”

When questioned whether it was unusual to have a proven, world class player at one end of the field tasked with scoring goals, and a young, developing talent trying to prevent them up the other end, van’t Schip said it was normal in football.

“It’s not strange – it happens everywhere in the world,” van’t Schip said.

“If you have a good, young, talented player there is always a moment when you have to start playing and so it is good we have a mix of experience, young players, foreign players and bring that all together it makes a very good team in all aspects.”

With the Club's history of promoting good young talent, Archibald may well get that moment on Saturday night.