Gary van Egmond says his Young Socceroos deserve plenty of credit for the way they are performing and developing at the 2019 AFF U-18 Championship.
The young Aussies booked their spot in the Semi-Finals of the tournament on Thursday night after a dominant 5-0 win over Singapore.
The result saw them finish on top of Group B with four wins and just one defeat from their five pool matches.
It sets up a Semi-Final clash against Myanmar on Saturday night (9.30pm kick-off AEST).
While delighted that his youngsters are through to the pointy end of the tournament, van Egmond says there’s been plenty of positives to take from the last couple of weeks in Vietnam.
“The whole point of it is for them to start to take on, both on and off the field, how they want to be seen and the identity of this team,” van Egmond told www.socceroos.com.au on Friday.
“They have a responsibility because they are representing Australia and in doing so they need to carry themselves in a certain way and also in the way they play.
“All of that intertwines and it’s all set out nice and early and the boys have really taken ownership of that and that’s really terrific.”
Van Egmond has been particularly impressed with the way the players have been able to adapt to the new concepts the coaching staff have thrown at them both in the lead-up and during the tournament.
It’s been a tough challenge for the youngsters, who have had to deal with gruelling conditions and playing matches every second day.
“They have to now learn how to take information in from video analysis,” van Egmond said.
“We don’t get the opportunity to work on what we really need to work on…recovery is a major consideration with the conditions here and the time we have between games.
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“So they have to learn how to take and digest video and then implement it out on the pitch. It’s a really good learning curve for them.”
Asked about Saturday’s Semi-Final clash with Myanmar, van Egmond said: “If you make a final then obviously you are a good team so we have a lot of respect for Myanmar.
“We’ll look forward to the game, everyone likes to be involved in finals and the players have been able to put themselves in that position and now it’s about the opportunity that presents them.”