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Australian A-League

Ten youngsters set to take the A-League by storm

The focus of the 2016-17 A-League season may be on new marquee players like Tim Cahill of Melbourne City FC and Sydney FC's former Besiktas striker Bobo, but there is a crop of talented young footballers waiting in the wings.

With a long season ahead, clubs will definitely be maximising their full roster, and a new Australian football star may be born.

Here are 10 youngsters that will be keen to impress in the 2016-17 A-League season:

Brisbane Roar striker Brandon Borrello
Brisbane Roar striker Brandon Borrello will be hoping to make a big impact in this campaign.

Adelaide United: Opportunities were relatively limited for Jesse Makarounas at Melbourne Victory last season, and his move to Adelaide certainly makes sense on that front. If he can fight his way into Guillermo Amor's starting line-up, his positive approach should sit well with the Reds' passing brand of football.

Brisbane Roar: Brandon Borrello was one of the stars early on last season, before his fellow striker Jamie Maclaren took over in the second half of the campaign. With that experience under his belt, Borrello will hopefully be able to sustain a longer period of good form this term, and start to have a real influence on the outcome of games.

Central Coast Mariners: Liam Rose, 19, was voted the Mariners' best last season, and it was not difficult to see why. The central midfielder was a shining light in an otherwise bleak campaign, and should once again prove to be key player, particularly alongside new recruit Mickael Tavares.

Melbourne City: At only 21 years of age, Connor Chapman has already played over 50 A-League games. With that sort of experience, the central defender will be looked upon as an integral link in a star-studded City outfit. His ability to fulfil that promise could be the key to Tim Cahill and Co. having the freedom to dominate the league.

Melbourne Victory's James Donachie
James Donachie, left, joined Melbourne Victory from Brisbane Roar in the offseason.

Melbourne Victory: James Donachie has joined the Victory from Brisbane Roar, where he stood out as a potential defensive star. Now, with the experienced Matthieu Delpierre retired, Donachie will line up in Victory colours as a defensive leader.

Newcastle Jets: One the best midseason signings last campaign was Steven Ugarkovic, who transformed Newcastle's midfield into a much more dynamic, ball-playing unit. The 22-year-old's ability to get on the ball and distribute intelligently should be enough for the Jets to play an attractive brand of football this term.

Perth Glory: Teenager Jamal Reiners needs only to add consistency to his repertoire to become a real threat in the A-League. Having caught the eye with his pace and flair last season, the 18-year-old could be poised to take the next step in his career and make Perth's strike force one of the most difficult to stop in the league.

Sydney FC's Brandon O'Neill
Brandon O'Neill has already tasted AFC Champions League action with Sydney FC last season.

Sydney FC: Plenty of pundits have been impressed by Brandon O'Neill over the past 12 months, but now is the time for midfielder to stamp his authority on the Sydney FC starting line-up. With an uncanny knack of playing a killer pass from a deep-lying area, O'Neill should be on the national team radar in the years to come. To do so, he'll need to deliver on his potential on a regular basis this season.

Wellington Phoenix: Hamish Watson earned himself a new contract with the Phoenix after scoring three goals in eight games at the end of last season. If he can capitalise on the service from Kosta Barbarouses, Roy Krishna and Gui Finkler, he may well become a regular up front for the New Zealand club.

Western Sydney Wanderers: With a high turnover of players in the offseason, the Wanderers will be looking for a couple of their youngsters to transition into more of a leadership role. That applies perhaps principally to defender Jonathan Aspro. The defender inked a two-year deal at the end of 2015, and should have his eye on forming a formidable defensive partnership with skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

Rob Brooks writes about Australian football and the A-League for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @RobNJBrooks


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