Wellington Phoenix assistant coach Chris Greenacre is already a big fan of Waikato teenager Tyler Boyd.
The young striker has impressed Greenacre with his pre-season form, increasing his chances of grabbing one of two available under-21 professional contracts with the A-League side for their 2012-13 campaign.
Greenacre said Boyd, a 17-year-old striker, was a "natural goalscorer".
"And he scores in all kinds of ways, from little tap-ins to 30-yard bombs.
"He's got a quick turn of pace, he's quite strong, he can link play as well and bring players into the game. And his attitude has been a different class."
The former Waikato FC and Melville United player is one of nine youngsters in the club's "school of excellence" programme with the Phoenix. Boyd has made an impact since heading to the capital at the end of June.
He netted a number of goals in pre-season matches for the first team in Wellington before heading to Australia and India for further matches.
Boyd has often started up front alongside star striker Paul Ifill, indicating coach Ricki Herbert sees him as a realistic prospect to make the jump to the top level.
Former Phoenix striker Greenacre has also been impressed by Wellington youngster Louis Fenton.
The development of the 19-year-old attacking midfielder brought comparisons with another standout Waikato product, Marco Rojas, at the same age.
"Louis is a bit more physically mature than Marco probably was so, maybe he could handle it a little bit earlier," Greenacre said.
"If you're putting him in Rojas's bracket then obviously that's a great compliment to Louis and I'm sure he can go on to do things as well as Marco has. So who knows, you could have a legend player in your midst. But it's a long way off that and you don't want to put too much pressure on him."
The attacking duo appear well-placed to join the first team squad fulltime.
"With myself and Tim Brown retiring, we were a little light in the forward area so we've pushed those two players on further than the others in terms of gametime," Greenacre said. "They have been given the opportunity and taken it."
Greenacre said the pair would cope "really well" if they saw A-League action this season.
Despite dodgy pitches, the Phoenix comfortably won the first two games of their four-match Indian tour, beating United Sikkim FC 3-0 and Shillong Lajong 5-2.
The next assignment is a friendly against an I-League selection today before the final of the North East Super Series on Saturday, with both games to be played on artificial surfaces.
The youngsters, in addition to the signings of Jeremy Brockie and Benjamin Totori, will give the Phoenix attack a different dimension this season.
Suddenly the club has speed to burn.
"That's what the game is all about - pace and power up the top and we've certainly got that this year," Greenacre said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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