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Oct 29, 2008   |  8:35PM AET

No nerves for youngster

No nerves for youngster

COSTA BARBAROUSES hasn’t worn a Wellington Phoenix jersey in a Hyundai A-League match since January, so the youngster is understandably buzzing after making the squad for the Phoenix’s road trip to Perth and Sydney.

COSTA BARBAROUSES hasn-t worn a Wellington Phoenix jersey in a Hyundai A-League match since January, so the youngster is understandably buzzing after making the squad for the Phoenix-s road trip to Perth and Sydney.

Barbarouses last played for the Phoenix in their final game of the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season against the Central Coast Mariners, the 18-year-old the player of the match for the visitors.

That match in Gosford was a nerve-wracking experience for the youngster, but now the anxiety of playing top-flight football has been replaced by flat-out excitement.

“It-s been about 10 months since my last game for the Phoenix, so it-s a relief to finally get back in the squad,” Barbarouses said.

“I-m not really nervous at all. Maybe a year ago if I-d been asked whether I would be feeling the pressure I probably would have had to say yes. But now I know what to expect. I-m very excited; it-s good to finally get an opportunity and I-ll be looking to make the most of it.”

Feted in New Zealand football circles for some time, Barbarouses has been impressive at Phoenix training and in several warm-up games. He also had a three-month stint with the Macarthur Rams in the New South Wales Premier League in the lead-up to the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season.

“I knew I had a lot of hard work to do to get into the squad and I-ve been patient, focusing on doing things right at training and waiting for my chance. It-s great that I-m finally in with a chance to get a go.”

Barbarouses comes into the squad for the round 10 match against Perth Glory in Perth on Sunday and the round 11 match against Sydney FC in Sydney the following Friday in place of Adam Kwasnik, who has been given the opportunity by Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert to freshen up for the remainder of the campaign.

Herbert said Barbarouses was due another chance in the Hyundai A-League.

“I spoke to Costa and [Phoenix youth player] Greg Draper six weeks ago and mapped out what I wanted to see. Both players stepped up to the mark and the coaching staff felt that someone like Costa could give us some pace and options out wide against Perth and Sydney.

“There-s training and travel and a couple of tough games, so it-ll be an invaluable experience for him. He-s an exciting talent and he deserves a chance to have more time playing, which has been difficult given that we don-t have access to the youth league set-up that the other clubs do.”