Five Minutes With… Mitchell Mallia

At just 17 years of age Mitchell Mallia is amongst the youngest in the National Youth League squad.

At just 17 years of age Mitchell Mallia is amongst the youngest in the National Youth League squad.

The dynamic midfielder has already had the honour of representing his country in the 2007 Asian Qualifiers in Singapore for the 2009 Under 17-s World Cup.

The experience has fuelled his desire to succeed in football and the youngster is determined to learn the tricks of his trade in the National Youth League competition and continue working to achieve his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Mallia talks to www.ccmariners.com.au about his beginnings in football, his experiences in Singapore and his ambitions for the remainder of the season.

For further information about Mitchell Click Here visit his profile page.

At what age did you first start playing football and what attracted you to the game? I was six years old and first started playing when I was in year one at school. I used to always kick balls around the house and one day my parents brought home the registration papers for my local club and so I joined and from there I just loved it.

Were you influenced by family members to take up the game? No one in my family played my dad was actually a rugby league player. I just took to the game myself.

What players and teams did you follow as a young football fan? I have three players that probably most people idolise Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Eric Cantona. They all play a similar position to what I do so I-ve enjoyed watching them over the years and try to learn things off them. I-ve always followed Manchester United mainly because my family supported them and I kind of fell into it.

Can you explain your experiences with the Australian Joey-s side? That was an incredible experience and I got selected for the squad just after the national championships in 2007. Three days later I was off to Singapore for the Asian qualifiers. It really was an honour to wear the Australian jersey and everything was top class especially the coaching and facilities. It was a great experience getting a chance to play those matches in 2007 and early 2008.

What would you rate as your greatest strengths as a player? I-d say my greatest strength is my speed, which has allowed me to get through gaps on the field. It-s a useful asset to have.

What areas do you feel you need to work hardest on to improve your game? Probably my finishing it hasn-t been the best lately but it-s starting to get there. I also need to work on my weaker foot as well.

How have you found the experience of being involved in the NYL? It-s an incredible opportunity to travel around Australia every week and play with top quality players and against top opposition. It-s the closest you can get to the A - League. It has definitely motivated me to break into the A - League. Each week I just try to give my best and I-m still young enough to have a couple more seasons in the youth league so hopefully I can get the chance to keep playing and really strive to get into the A-League.

How have you found playing and training with and against Hyundai A - League players? It has definitely helped my game. The older players play the game a lot faster and a lot more technical and when you-re playing in that environment you have to lift yourself to that level.

What would you rank as your favourite moments in your football career so far? My two favourite moments are definitely being given the honour of being selected for my country and signing with the Mariners who have given me the chance to play in the youth league.

What are your individual goals for the remainder of the season? I aim to keep my starting position or at least a position on the bench every week. I know we have a couple of A-League players dropping down so competition for spots is pretty tight. I-d be very happy to make the squad week in and week out and always give my best with my opportunities.