Team-first mentality for Metcalfe

Connor Metcalfe recently spoke to the media in Germany ahead of FC St. Pauli's 2. Bundesliga clash against Karlsruher SC.

The versatile midfielder-come-forward is reaping the benefits of instilling a team-first approach having enjoyed a solid start to the 2023/24 season, despite at times being in and out of the starting line-up.

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However, Metcalfe provided an excellent response when quizzed about featuring off the bench against Paderbon a week ago.

"I know my role in the team. I’ve spoken to the coach (Fabian Hürzeler)," he stated to the media.

"He’s told me what I am in the team, and I accept that. It doesn’t matter to me if I start or don’t start, all I want to do is just win. A successful team is not just 11 players. 

"It’s all of us. We’re all working hard and obviously we all want to play. At the end of the day, there are 11 players that will start and if you don’t play you have to accept that. You have to keep going and continue being positive. 

"There are always going to be opportunities during a season where a player might get injured or suspended and you need to be ready.”

It is this philosophical attitude which makes Metcalfe a top professional and great teammate and has the backing of  Head Coach Fabian Hürzeler. 

Against Karlsruher, Metcalfe grabbed the vital assist to get his side back into the contest - his final contribution before being substituted in the 83rd minute - as the Boys in Brown went on to snatch a stoppage time winner to remain top of the table.

The positive result extended the club's unbeaten streak to 16 games in the league, dating back to last season.

Metcalfe, who has two goals and two assists in the German second tier this campaign, is experiencing some of his best football of his career and discussed the last few weeks which included starts against England and New Zealand for the Subway Socceroos.

He was one of the standouts against the Three Lions at Wembley Stadium before also being key against the All Whites alongside compatriot and club teammate Jackson Irvine.

“We’ve been going well, we’re training hard, and I’m enjoying my football," he told reporters. 

"The last two weeks have been special. Starting twice for my country, especially at Wembley, is nothing I thought I’d ever be able to do. 

"Going into the game against England you’re expected not to have the ball at all, to have to run around and defend and maybe get a chance, maybe not. I think we were so proud of ourselves and the way we played, even though we lost.” 

With 11 Socceroos caps to his name, and having started seven of the 11 league matches to start the campaign for the Hamburg-based side, Metcalfe is quickly developing into a pivotal player for both club and country. 

“I think I’m playing with a sort of confidence and that comes from working hard and being happy here," he said.

"There are things I need to improve on, of course, but I’m pretty happy with the way I’m going.”

The 23-year-old also won the Goal of the Month award for September for his stunning long-range strike in a 5-1 drubbing of Holstein Kiel and followed that up with another well taken goal three weeks later against FC Nurnberg.