Jake Girdwood-Reich: players’ pick

May 22, 2024 by Jonathan Benjamin
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Still 19 years old and playing the season out of his preferred midfield position at centre back, Sydney FC’s Jake Girdwood-Reich has been selected in the Australian Professional Footballers Association (PFA) A-League men’s players team of the 2023/24 season.

Jake takes to the pitch

Jake was proud to be one of only three Sydney FC men’s players named in the squad of 18 players. He was among the 11 first-time selections of 18 players announced by the PFA on the squad.

Jake told J-Wire: “This was a total surprise. I have just been focussing on my game and getting more time in the centre midfield role. It’s really good to be recognised by other mainly senior players in a season where I’ve been asked to play out of my natural position for so long.”

The team is selected based on votes from fellow A-League men’s players, and Jake’s vote tally means that he made the substitutes bench. At the end of each season, PFA members from the A-Leagues are asked to vote on their best XI and the composition of the PFA team is based on the number of votes tallied for each player in each position, with the substitutes bench comprising those players who finished first below those in the starting XI positions.

Jake has started 29 matches for Sydney FC across all competitions, which helped him gain selection in the Australian U23 national team and get Sydney FC men through to the end-of-season finals rounds.

Near the beginning of the season, Sydney FC won the Australia Cup nationwide knockout competition, qualifying them to play in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) competitions against Asia’s best club teams.

Jake is not your regular centre-back as shown by his outstanding statistics with, for example, intercepts and completed passing, skills of a good central defensive midfielder/central midfielder. While he has only scored one goal so far this season, he has been unlucky on several occasions, scoring from set pieces and around the penalty area.

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