Squad depth key for Wanderers: Popovic

Western Sydney Wanderers boss Tony Popovic says there’s real competition for places in his starting 11 following the signing of Spaniard Raúl Llorente on Monday.

Llorente, an Atlético Madrid junior and Spanish youth international, arrived in the country over the weekend after nearly a decade playing in Spain and Greece.


“We’re delighted to have him,” said Popovic.



“He’s predominately been a winger, he’s also played left side of midfield in a three and has played a few games as a fullback, so he’s a very versatile player so we’re pretty open on the idea of where he can play on the park.”


The Wanderers have recruited strongly in the off-season with the signing of Llorente, fellow Spaniards Oriol Riera and Alvaro Cejudo, former Socceroos Chris Herd and Michael Thwaite, and former Wellington Phoenix midfielder Roly Bonevacia. 

“There’s healthy competition for places and so far all the players when they’re playing their matches, they’re performing well and it’s a good headache that I certainly hope as a coach continues throughout the year.”


The next challenge for Popovic and co comes in the form of Tuesday night’s Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16 clash with NPL Victorian side Bentleigh Greens.

“They’ve had good success in this competition and they’re playing at home and they’ll be exited and they’ll want to try and get an A-League scalp and its up to us to perform well,” said Popovic.

“We know it’ll be a difficult game but we are expected to win and that’s a mindset we have to go down with and if we perform well we expect to go through to the next round.”