Is Marco Tilio set for a year of growth or stagnation with limited chance for minutes? (Photo: Melbourne City/Twitter)

Marco Tilio burst onto the season last year as City won it's maiden title but with the arrival of Mathew Leckie, he has to fight for minutes.

20-year-old dynamo Marco Tilio rose to prominence during last season’s A-League Men finals series, but could find his minutes rather limited this campaign.

Towards the end of last season, Tilio became a household name in Australian football. Swapping Sydney FC for Melbourne City, the diminutive winger was a driving force behind City’s title charge.

He, along with fellow youngster in Stefan Colakovski, pushed City to the club’s first title in its existence as it won the league double after a stellar campaign.

Tilio’s form was so good in the closing stages of City’s title run that he was rewarded with a spot in Graham Arnold’s Australian Olympic squad.

He capped off his superb season and scored Australia’s second goal against Argentina in a 2-0 win as the Olyroos kicked off its Olympic campaign in style.


However, for all of Tilio’s good work, he could find himself on the bench with limited minutes. Why? City acquired Socceroo Mathew Leckie from Bundesliga side Hertha BSC.

The 30-year-old is a bonafide starter for every club in the league this season. Such is City’s squad depth, players like Tilio and Colakovski will see their game time reduced and this could hamper their development.

Tilio faces defining season

Melbourne City’s front three is the envy of the league. Reigning Golden Boot winner Jamie Maclaren and fellow Socceroos in Andrew Nabbout and Mathew Leckie will start for Patrick Kisnorbo whenever they are fit.

So where does this leave Tilio? Having started City’s season opener on the bench, he was brought on with 20 minutes remaining as the home side looked in complete control until a Luke Ivanovic header reduced the deficit.

Tilio is going to have to be content with being a bit-part play this season. That is because there is such an array of talent currently employed at AAMI Park.

He only found 10 passes on Friday, barely getting a chance to get a feel for the ball in the season opener. Tilio did manage to create a chance on goal in his short time on the pitch however, such is his talent.

His development as a footballer rests on how he approaches his game time this season. However, being such a young player, time is on his side.

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City’s front three are all in line for Socceroos call ups, but there are no games until January. So Tilio could find himself on the outer and fighting for minutes, something that seemed unfathomable last year.

He will have to bide his time as the talent is there. When his time comes as it did on Friday night, he must make the most of it.

Such is the depth at Melbourne City, form and injury is the only realistic way the winger will force his way into the side.

This season is shaping up as a defining one for Marco Tilio. Will he continue to progress and take his game to another level? Or will he stagnate as a side effect of limited minutes?

We wait with anticipation.

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