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Boy from Wenty in the shadow of Del Piero

By Roger Sleeman   

HE’S the boy from Wentworthville in Sydney’s west and Joel Chianese, as a product of the large Western Sydney football production line , is on the verge of proving he can be counted as one of the star performers in the A- League.

His great success in the second half of the 2011/12 season was dampened by a spate of injuries last year which severely hampered his career progress.

However, last season wasn’t all about disappointment as the arrival of Allesandro Del Piero culminated in one of the most important influences in Chianese’s career.

Chianese has Italian parents and although he is a staunch supporter of A S Roma, he clicked immediately with the former Juventus superstar.

“It’s not every day you rub shoulders with an international star like this and he had a tremendous impact on all players in the squad,” says Chianese.

“He made a major contribution with the sixteen goals he scored last season as well as creating a cult following with the Sydney FC supporters and enjoying hero status with A-League followers and the wider sporting community.

“In the preseason tour of Italy, especially in the opening match against Del Piero’s first professional club, Padova, the fans flocked around him and gave him amazing attention.”

Chianese also had a successful tour in scoring three goals in the six matches which was the tonic he needed to boost his confidence after his lacklustre 2012/13 season when he only scored one goal in limited game time.

‘’The tour wasn’t all beer and skittles as there was a total focus on football when we trained once or twice a day in extremely hot conditions.

“However, for me it was a great experience as it was my first trip to Italy, but more importantly the squad definitely benefited from a fitness standpoint.”

Despite a slow start to the season when people were calling for coach Frank Farina’s head, Sydney FC has silenced the critics with their recent run of five wins in six matches.

Joel Chianese has made a significant contribution to the team by scoring three goals and playing team-mates into goal scoring positions.

The match which started the turnaround was the November 15 away clash with Melbourne Heart when Chianese cleverly turned his marker in the first half and enticed him to make a poor tackle, earning the Sky Blues a penalty which Del Piero duly converted.

Chianese also ghosted in the on the far post to score the second goal which produced the 2-0 final result for Sydney FC.

In the November 30 home clash with the Newcastle Jets , Chianese played a major role in the Sydney  FC victory when he made a great run from the right flank into a central position in front of goal, changed body shape and coolly placed the ball on the blind side of Birrighiti, the Newcastle custodian, into an unguarded net.

This was the work of a confident marksman and confirmed that Chianese is steadily developing his craft.

“Things are happening for me this year but there is still a lot of improvement required in my game.

“My strengths are my speed and direct approach but I need to get into better positions to either score or create more chances for my team-mates.”

There is no doubting the profound influence Del Piero has exerted on Chianese which was exemplified after the Italian maestro’s brilliant solo effort which led to his first goal against Melbourne Heart on December 15.

Two minutes after Del Piero had broken the stalemate, Pedj Bojic played a short ball into the box.

Chianese leaned back towards Wielaert, the Heart defender, and skilfully allowed the ball to run past him into the path of Despotovic  who slammed the ball past Redmayne at the near post.  

“They say Del Piero is dispensable and Sydney FC can perform at a high level when he’s not playing, but when you have a man in your squad like this, you obviously want him appearing as much as possible.

“He can change the course of the game in the course of 30 seconds as he proved with the first goal against the Heart.

“He’s amazing on the ball and his ability to draw defenders and make space is a joy. He has told me that if you show yourself or make the run for me, I’ll find you.

“By making the right run or being in the right position, space is freed up so he can feed me the ball.”

After its record of four consecutive wins, there is a lot of competition for places at Sydney FC and Chianese is well aware he has strong rivalry for a regular place in a striking role from Garcia, Powell, Naumoff , Yau, Gameiro and the great Del Piero.

“There is this friendly rivalry for places but the squad is very harmonious and Frank Farina with his vast experience encourages a great positive attitude because things can go wrong on the park.

“Frank and Rado Vidosic both encourage this positive attitude which leads to positive events on the park and coupled with a high standard of individual and team performance, the results are coming”.

At the end of the A- League season, Joel Chianese comes off contract and as a free agent will examine his options because he still harbours a desire to play overseas.

“I’m hoping Sydney FC will approach me soon to discuss my future because I want to make the right career choice”.
Frank Farina is very happy with Chianese’s progress.

“Joel has scored some vital goals this season and has also instigated several goals for other players.

“He knows the way to goal and with a bit more consistency, barring injury, has the talent and potential to raise his game to a much higher level and score many more goals”.

Wherever, Joel Chianese‘s football career leads him, he will never forget the day he met a man called Allesandro Del Piero.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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