NAB one to watch: Ruon Tongyik

If his debut is any indication, then Melbourne City teenager Ruon Tongyik is destined for a fantastic career in the Hyundai A-League.

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The 19-year-old made his first appearance in the Hyundai A-League in round 10 in the top-of-the-table clash against Sydney FC.

City boss John van ‘t Schip had no hesitation throwing the Sudan-born defender into such a big occasion and hostile atmosphere.

And it’s easy to see why.

Up against the Sky Blues free-scoring and imposing attack, Tongyik was exceptional as the visitors came away with a 1-1 draw at ANZ Stadium.

After a testing opening 20 minutes when he was clearly targeted by Sydney FC in their pressing, he won the majority of his battles against the likes of Bobo and Alex Brosque, while he came up with five crucial clearances. 

His distribution was also impressive, completing 49 passes out from the back at an accuracy rate of almost 88%.

It’s why this talented teenager is one to watch in this season’s NAB Young Footballer of the Year award.

Tongyik is in his first season at City after signing a two-year deal from Adelaide United in the off-season, where he won the Reds’ best-and-fairest award in the NYL and worked under City’s assistant coach Micky Valkanis. 

While he’s comfortable as a strong-tackling, physical centre-back, Tongyik is capable of playing anywhere along the backline or in central midfield.

 Finding a central defensive partner for Michael Jakobsen has been an issue for City this season but if Tongyik’s debut is anything to go by, JVS’s search could be over.

He’s definitely one to keep an eye on in the race for this season’s NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

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