POCKET rocket Joe Caletti refuses to be distracted by contract talks as he focuses on cementing a place in the Brisbane Roar’s midfield.
In the absence of injured Roar skipper Matt McKay, 18-year-old Caletti continues to impress.
He more than held his own against decorated Japanese midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara in the Roar’s 2-1 AFC Champions League midweek win over Kashima Antlers at Suncorp Stadium.
Ogasawara, 38, was capped 55 times for Japan between 2002 and 2010, but Caletti was anything but intimated as he and the Roar’s midfield enforcer Thomas Kristensen played key roles in Brisbane’s upset victory.
“For a young player like me every game’s a good experience, but that’s another one I can add to the list,” Caletti said.
“I’m really happy with it. He (Ogasawara) is very composed on the ball, which is something that he’s always been good at.
“It was very interesting to play against him, a different style of opposition as well. It was really good for me.”
Off contract at the end of the season, the diminutive Caletti’s performances have put him in the shop window.
His agent Buddy Farah remains in negotiations with the Roar, who are confident of holding on to the former national under-17 captain.
Caletti will be forever indebted to the Roar for giving him a chance, and there’s little doubt that Brisbane’s style of play suits him to perfection.
“I’m really happy playing my football right now,” he said.
“It’d be great to (stay with the Roar) but I’m just focused on my performances.
“It’s a little bit early (to talk about a new deal). I’m just breaking in now so I’m just really focused on keeping my spot in the team and performing really well.
“Before every game I feel a little bit nervous, which is normal for me, so that’s a good thing … I definitely feel more comfortable every game I guess.”
Caletti is tipped to again start alongside Kristensen in Brisbane’s engine room when the Roar host Wellington Phoenix on the final day of the regular A-League season tomorrow (SUNDAY).
A Roar win will boost their chances of finishing in third spot on the ladder ahead the finals series, which start next week.
“Now’s a great time for us to start getting good results,” Caletti said.
Roar coach John Aloisi said Caletti was a good example of the emerging talent in Australian football.
“A lot of people question our Australian quality coming through, (but) Joey Caletti shows that we’ve got quality coming through,” Aloisi said.
Originally published as Cool Caletti staying focused
SOURCE: newsnow sport