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Mar 05, 2014   |  1:30PM AET

Pandurevic aiming to take his chance

Pandurevic aiming to take his chance

In early 2012, Central Coast Mariners signed a precocious midfielder named Tom Rogic to his first professional contract after his spell with the Nike Academy in the United Kingdom had ended.

In early 2012, Central Coast Mariners signed a precocious midfielder named Tom Rogic to his first professional contract after his spell with the Nike Academy in the United Kingdom had ended.

As history will note, Rogic went on to wow Mariners fans with his skill and elegance, making his Socceroos debut while contracted to the yellow and navy before switching to Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic in January 2013.

In the weeks leading up to Rogic-s tilt to make the Nike Academy via the world-renowned Nike Chance competition, Rogic honed his skills and sharpened his fitness with the Mariners under the expert guidance of Graham Arnold, Phil Moss and co.

Now 17-year-old attacking ace Dejan Pandurevic – a member of the Mariners- Foxtel National Youth League 2013/14 squad – will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of Rogic when he takes part in the three-day ‘Nike Chance Global Showcase- featuring some of the world-s best unsigned players in Birmingham, England this Friday through Sunday.

“Two years ago I went with Manly United to Melbourne to a tournament hosted by Nike,” Pandurevic said. “They [Nike] spotted me and I got a sponsorship with them, and then they invited me to the Australian version of the Chance last year.”

“Unfortunately I couldn-t go because I had an injury, but they invited me to the trial that happened recently in Melbourne.”

It-s fair to say Pandurevic made the most of his opportunity in the Victorian capital, as from 64 talented participants he was the sole player selected to represent Australia in the global selection phase.

In anticipation of his opportunity to mix it with some of the globe-s most ambitious young footballers, Pandurevic has been upping the ante in training, complementing his Foxtel National Youth League commitments with Patrick Zwaanswijk-s side with first team training sessions under the guidance of Moss, Wayne O-Sullivan, John Crawley, Zwaanswijk, and Tim Knight.

“I think training with the first team has helped me a lot,” Pandurevic explained. “There-s such experienced players and such quality there. And also with the youth team, Patrick-s experience has helped me a lot.”

Pandurevic, who scored on his Foxtel National Youth League debut for Mariners Youth against Western Sydney Wanderers Youth this year, departs for the UK today.

And both Moss and Zwaanswijk believe the youngster has what it takes to impress the scouts at one of Nike Football-s showpiece events.

“Dejan is a young player I-ve had my eye on for a number of years, as I used to work with him at Manly United,” Moss said.

“He has a real passion for the game and his potential is starting to open some doors for him to help launch his professional career.”

“He-s developed well at Manly United under Craig Midgley and again under Patrick in our NYL team, so he earned the right to train with the Hyundai A-League squad. We wish him well at the Nike Chance competition and will be keeping a close on his progress,” he said.

Zwaanswijk added: “Dejan was injured when we started our Foxtel NYL trial process last year, so we signed him as a train-on player instead.“

“Once he recovered from his injury he developed really well, and he ended up playing a number of games with us because he did well as a train-on player.”

“His work rate is great, he-s a good finisher inside the box, he-s strong physically for his age, he positions himself well, he can hold the ball up and bring midfielders into play, and he-s got a lot of energy to attack the goal, which is something you like to see in a young player,” he said.