NAB one to watch: Joe Caletti

It was always going to be a tough ask for youngster Joe Caletti to crack Brisbane Roar’s first team.

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With captain Matt McKay, Danish international Thomas Kristensen and former Socceroo Brett Holman competing for spots in an ultra-talented midfield, chances in the Hyundai A-League would be few and far between.

But a combination of injuries and a heavy schedule has seen the Sydney-born midfielder earn debuts in the A-League and the Asian Champions League.

After biding his time in the Hyundai A-League club’s squad, the youngster was handed his first-team debut just over six weeks ago in Roar’s ACL playoff win over Global FC.

The diminutive midfielder has since gone on to make three appearances in the A-League and four in the ACL, starting in the Roar’s loss to Kashima in Japan on Match Day 3.

In three A-League matches, Caletti’s pass accuracy is an impressive 89% while he has also won 100% of tackles he has contested.

His composure, work-rate and passing range have even drawn comparisons to a former Championship-winning midfielder at the Roar – Massimo Murdocca.

The 18-year-old is a product of the FFA Centre of Excellence with the holding midfielder captaining the Joeys at the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in Chile in 2015.

After joining the Roar in January 2016, Caletti became a key member of the club’s Foxtel National Youth league side during their 2016/17 campaign.

Caletti has looked comfortable from the outset in a Roar shirt and it’s his quiet confidence which has put him in the frame for NAB Young Footballer of the Year award.