Callum Talbot has been one of City’s quiet achievers, the 21-year-old full-back flourishing in his first season as part of the City system.
Arriving from Sydney FC and signing a three-year deal midway through last year, Talbot worked hard behind the scenes to earn the starting right-back spot and hasn’t looked back since.
Playing alongside fellow young gun Jordan Bos in the City backline, Talbot has become an integral part of the well-oiled City machine, fitting like a glove into the teams attacking style of play.
Often playing as an inverted fullback this season, Talbot credited City’s tight playing group and captain Scott Jamieson as the key reasons behind his rapid rise.
“It’s been a pretty easy transition as the boys welcomed me to the club straight away and took me under their wing, so I feel like I’ve fitted straight in,” Talbot said.
“Jamo (Scott Jamieson) has taught me a lot given he plays left back, so when I first came here I learnt every day off him.
“He’s had such a great career and he gives me little pointers at training, little positional tips and I feel like he’s been massive for me transitioning into the City team.”
Talbot also pointed to the camaraderie across the squad as one of the key reasons why he’s been able to slot straight in with little fuss.
“Throughout the whole team from the old boys to the younger guys in the squad, everyone speaks to each other and gets along well,” Talbot said.
Sporting a star-studded starting XI, City is spoilt for choice even on its bench.
Talbot said that the squad’s depth is nothing but a good thing for the team as players push each other to new heights each and every week in a bid for a starting spot.
“There’s healthy competition in training and throughout the week, so everyone is really competitive because we all want to be playing.
“Knowing that someone just behind you is more than capable of taking that starting spot certainly gives you a boost and makes you work hard to ensure you can keep it,” Talbot said, “You’d much rather that healthy competition than everyone being comfortable.”
After making the move from Sydney, Talbot had to adjust to a new role on the pitch, something he believes has improved his game greatly already this season.
“I wasn’t used to coming inside as a fullback and almost playing as that extra midfielder, but I just feel that technically on the ball I’ve learnt a lot,” he said.
“I’m a very positive fullback that likes to go forward and get amongst the play and you can definitely see that with myself and Bos, we’re looking to get forward and help out the attackers and contribute those goals and assists.”
While City may be well known for its attacking prowess, Talbot said it is the entire squad’s mentality and willingness to make that extra effort without the ball that has been instrumental in their success.
“We build our game off that if a mistake does happen, everyone else will be dying to win that ball back as high as we can up the pitch to keep putting pressure on the other team,” he said.
“If someone does make a mistake, you’ve got another teammate that’s willing to run their socks off to win that ball back for you and help out the team.”
Feeling like a professional on and off the pitch, Talbot said he’s in a good place and hopes he can contribute to helping City finish what they started this season.
“I feel like we have been dominating games and playing the style we want to play,” he said.
“We just need to stay focused and keep our preparations right to ensure we are 100% ready for Finals, which are a different kettle of fish.”