Introducing Oceania’s Eleven. Throughout 2018 we will be tracking 11 promising footballers who we believe will have a breakout season in Oceania and beyond.
The best full backs in world football all have one thing in common; they can attack as well as defend.
Crossing, overlapping runs and even goals are all a part of a right back’s arsenal at the top level – and one New Zealand u20 international has shown staggering improvements in this area recently.
Jack-Henry Sinclair is already a star at youth level, having played in New Zealand’s u20 World Cup campaign.
At just 19 he has been brought through the Wellington Phoenix academy and narrowly missed out on a move to South Africa last year when second division side Stellenbosch wanted his signature but had no available import slots.
Instead of sulking Sinclair returned to Wellington where he joined Team Wellington – and has been a star for the side as they challenge at the top of the table.
Incredibly for a defender he has four goals in six appearances, as well as two assists. That works out at a goal every 124 minutes, a run that even a striker would be proud of.
Speaking to OceaniaFC.com, Sinclair says his new-found goalscoring ability is due to freedom to move further up the pitch.
He said “I have enjoyed a change in position this season, moving forward in a more attacking role. I’ve always loved getting higher up the pitch as a fullback but its even better when you can start higher up and stay there!”
However, he also attributes his form to manage Jose Figueira, who has also recently been named New Zealand u17 coach.
Sinclair says: “So far, my time at Team Wellington has been really enjoyable. The players all welcomed me in straight away and having known some of the players already it was easy to get settled. The players and coaches at Team Wellington are all tight-knit. Not only do we have a great coach in Jose, but we have a great group of staff at the club, from assistant coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, right through to management.”
A future All White international, he could be the key to Team Wellington’s success in both league and cup – with the Oceania Champions League just days away Sinclair says they are aiming to wrestle the title from Auckland City.
“As for my ambitions this year, I am fully focused on trying to win both the ISPS Handa Premiership and the Oceania Champions League with Team Wellington. Jose and the staff have put together a great bunch of players that have got to know one anothers game really well, so on the pitch, we gel. I believe we have the team and the set-up to reach both goals this year. ”
And in future? We have picked Sinclair out as one to watch because of his huge range of skills and clear potential. A professional contract and international call up is close, but he is not getting carried away.
“A professional contract is always every football players dream but i am really enjoying my football with Team Wellington and am not thinking past this season at the moment,” he explains. “Joining Team Wellington and playing with this group of players was a definitely the right decision.”