Romeo Castelen flourishing with Western Sydney Wanderers

It was one of the most memorable individual performances by a Western Sydney Wanderers player in the last two seasons but Romeo Castelen says his starring role against Melbourne Victory was just a by-product of the club’s new system.

Against the notoriously miserly defence of the Victory – who won all three trophies on offer to them in 2015 – Castelen made light work of seasoned defenders like Daniel Giorgievski. His pace, trickery and unpredictable style of play proved unstoppable for the A-League champions. Unlike his performances against Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United, where he similarly tormented his markers, Castelen matched his overall performance with vital end product.

A goal and assist made it more to celebrate, but Castelen says there was nothing different about his performance, simply growing more accustomed to an attacking system the Wanderers are playing this year.

“We play a possession-based game and attack is the main role as well,” Castelen said. “If you have the ball the other team cannot score so it’s less running defensively. So we press very high and that’s very good for me because now we win the ball up higher and we can be more dangerous. So it’s very pleasing to play in this system.”

Against Victory, the Wanderers bullied a side notorious for intimidating oppositions whether it be with such a stern defence or its threatening forwards. Castelen was proud of the manner in which the Wanderers put Victory to the sword to continue their winning streak.

“I think the boys today did fantastic. Even I came into the dressing and said to the boys, ‘Unbelievable how we press’. I think Berisha had no space to breathe and all the time three or four defenders around him. And all over the pitch teammates were backing each other up. I think that was the key, that we were very aggressive when we didn’t have the ball, and when we had the ball we kept the composure. It was a great win.”

Castelen showed plenty of signs of promise last year in his first season with the club but was limited to just 16 appearances due to a series of injuries. The heavy toll of travel hindered his performances last season as he was forced to not only adjust to hours of flights in Australia but also balanced with international travel in the Asian Champions League.

Now fit and firing in his second stint and far more accustomed to the demands of Australian football, Castelen believes his performances are more consistent due to the state of his fitness.

“Last year, I think only the last two months of the season I was consistent because I was playing game after game. It is important, if you can play game after game you can get game fitness and get in a rhythm. That’s the main thing that I am focused on because I know my ability, I just have to stay fit and play games and then the good things will come,” Castelen said.

The Wanderers appear to be looking to boost their goalkeeping stocks with former Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC man Liam Reddy. The veteran goalkeeper is understood to be in talks with the Wanderers having now parted ways with the Mariners following a bitter fall-out with the club. Reddy was sighted in the stands during the Wanderers’ win over Victory on Saturday night.

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