Youth in focus: Jordan Bos
Melbourne City's rise to the top of Australian football was hardly surprising, considering the massive investment that has come through the City Football Group. However, the route taken to amassing two premierships, an Australia Cup (then known as the FFA Cup) and a maiden A-League championship, has been somewhat unexpected. City fans have enjoyed glamour signings such as Bruno Fornaroli, Tim Cahill, and David Villa (all be it for four matches). But much of the club’s success has been built on youth development.
Jordan Bos fends off Melbourne Victory's Luis Nani. (Twitter: @AustraliaFut)
Marco Tilio and Callum Talbot have been shrewd youth signings, consistently performing at a high level. But City's academy graduates have not gone unnoticed. Jordan Bos, who has played every minute for the Citizens this season, has emerged as one of the most promising defensive talents in the country in the absence of more seasoned defenders. His performances, week in, week out, have garnered the admiration of the wider footballing community as City have continued their league dominance under Patrick Kisnorbo this season.
The born and bred Melbournian has enjoyed a very successful start, putting his hand up for Young Footballer of the Year in the infant rounds of the 2022/23 season. The left-back has become a focal point of the Melbourne City defence and has won four caps for the Australian U23 team at the time of writing. Bos has impressed Kisnorbo in a squad that aims to be consistent and build character throughout the ongoing campaign.
Bos has taken advantage of the maximum minutes given to him by Kisnorbo. He's won 18 tackles in his six appearances and 59% of his defensive duels in a setup that relies on a high press to win possession in advanced areas. Bos' 72% completion rate on aerial duels is even more impressive, demonstrating the youngster's physical presence against more developed and experienced opponents. He has also contributed seven interceptions this campaign, showing his ability to read his opponents' decision-making in the final third. Bos has demonstrated poise and control for Melbourne City.
In possession, Bos has also proved to be an additive commodity. The 20-year-old has completed 84% of his passes thus far. Averaging one successful dribble per game, Bos has shown he can transition from defence to attack, assisting Tilio in a 4-0 victory over Perth Glory in round five. His most impressive performance arguably came in the Melbourne Derby. Bos successfully marked ex-Premier League attacker and four-time champion Luis Nani in a 2-0 victory in front of 24,000 supporters at AAMI Park.
Bos' performances during the campaign thus far have earned him widespread praise, even picking up Melbourne City's Player of the Month in October. Bos has thrived in tandem with Aiden O'Neill in the left defensive channel. He is often called upon to close gaps between the ball carrier and defensive line, with O'Neill covering him in behind. Melbourne City's defensive structure is predicated on these relationships between central and wide defenders. More often than not, a calm and controlled central spine backs up the high-octane press supplied by the fullbacks and the forward line. This tactic can often result in Bos and his right-sided counterparts Talbot and Scott Galloway missing challenges in the transition phase. But O'Neill and Curtis Good always provide backup and ensure City isn't picked apart on the counter. This aggressive mindset gives Bos the freedom to get forward in the transition from defence to attack as he demonstrates his versatility as a defender. He often carries the ball forward in transition moments. This style of play often sees Bos pushing higher up the pitch to support City's prolific attackers Jamie Maclaren and Matthew Leckie.
Jordan Bos' stock is certainly on the rise in 2022. This Melbourne City team could continue their seemingly perpetual success after the World Cup break. Should Bos maintain his place in the squad and as a part of that success, he may contend for the Asian Cup in 2023. Socceroos left-back Aziz Behich is approaching 32 years of age. Joel King is receiving inconsistent playing time for his Danish side Odense Boldklub. Whoever is at the helm of the Socceroos in 2023 could do much worse than selecting the 20-year-old Bos. He is showing glimpses of the technique required to be a successful full-back in the modern era.
All statistics sourced from OneFootball
Click here to read last week's 'Youth In Focus' on Central Coast Mariners defender Nectarios Triantis.