Picture: Perth Glory website

Luke Bodnar discusses making his debut, the differences between the Asian Champions League and the A-League and a longer Y-League season.

Luke Bodnar has been one of the many young players that has benefited from the departure of foreign players in the A-League this season. 

Despite having played just 235 minutes in the A-League this season, fans have been excited by the ability of the young defender Bodnar, combining on the ball quality with defensive instinct.

Bodnar showed great instincts and awareness in his first start against the Central Coast Mariners. Coming up against an in-form Matt Simon is no easy task, but Bodnar managed it well, combining strength with composure to frustrate the veteran striker.

“I wouldn’t say I was nervous, I was more excited than anything,” Bodnar said of his debut.  

“It was a really good opportunity against the top of the table and I just wanted to do as well as possible.”

On the ball, Bodnar showed confidence and on multiple occasions brought the ball forwards into the midfield line to help Perth start attacks and push forward.

“I think it’s more of a natural thing,” Bodnar said on his ball carrying ability. 

“I’ve definitely worked on it, stepping into midfield, but I think it’s just a natural confidence I have. 

“I suppose that’s something that the coaches like about me, that I’ll step in and look to draw someone in and play a pass.”

This trait is similar to that of Sergio Ramos, who Bodnar cites as his influence.

“I’ve always been quite a fan of Sergio Ramos,” said Bodnar.

“I think I’m a similar sort of height to him, and a similar sort of playstyle. Similar just on the physical side of things, and I’ve always enjoyed watching him growing up.”

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Bodnar sees himself as a ball-playing centre-back, which is something that most fans would likely agree with.

“I’m able to defend, but I prefer to be on the ball”, said Bodnar. 

“I used to be a midfielder for most of my career so I’ve converted back into a centre-back so that’s why I prefer to be on the ball, passing, but part of being a defender is to defend.”

Bodnar certainly plays the part as a ball-playing defender, possessing the technique and vision to both carry and pass the ball forwards. 

He has played 117 accurate passes in 235 minutes with a pass accuracy of 88%, and an average of a pass every two minutes. He has also succeeded two dribbles, showing his ability to carry possession.

In defence, his numbers have been solid. He has succeeded four tackles out of his attempted four, made eight clearances and seven interceptions.

Bodnar didn’t actually make his debut for Perth in the A-League, though. He appeared five times for the West Australian side in the Asian Champions League, making three starts across the competition. 

“I’d say the difference between the two (A-League and Asian Champions League) is probably your individual players”, said Bodnar. 

“Your top strikers in the Asian teams are a lot more clinical, you almost know that if you make a mistake you’ll get punished whereas in the A-League it’s a lot faster, a more physical game. 

“A lot of back and forwards, not so much keeping the ball, playing around, trying to create a chance. 

“Not saying that in the A-League you don’t get punished, but I wouldn’t say as frequently.”

Bodnar has also appeared in two Y-League (youth league) campaigns for Perth, but answered strongly when asked about the low number of games.

“I’ve spoken to some of the older players, like Neil Kilkenny, Andy Keogh, they’re talking about how in England they play 50 games a season. 

“Here in Australia, even the A-League only plays around 32. In the Y-League, playing eight games, you’re not getting enough exposure to that type of sub-A-League environment. 

“The main thing would just be more games.”

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