The accolades continue to roll in for Newcastle Jets’ young gun, Joe Champness as the attacker earns a call up to the Australian squad for the 2018 AFC U23 Championships in China.
Champness has been called up in place of Western Sydney’s Jaushua Sotirio who has returned to Australia due to injury.
He joins Ante Milicic’s squad off the back of being named the December nominee for the Hyundai A-League, NAB Young Footballer of the Year 2017/18 Award.
Champness has appeared in every Newcastle Jets Hyundai A-League match this season to date – scoring three goals.
His latest man-of-the-match effort against Sydney FC featured a sharp goal off a Jets’ set piece and the young attacker’s potency up front will no doubt be of great interest to Milicic.
Jets’ boss, Ernie Merrick said the call up was a great opportunity for the 20-year-old.
“I’m thrilled for Joey, he’s been playing some wonderful football this season and thoroughly deserves this call up into the U23 Australian squad,” said Merrick.
“It will be a great learning experience for him and I know Joey will take this opportunity with both hands.
“He’s been absolutely first class this season and that was typified by his performance against Sydney last week.”
The call up will see Champness miss the Jets’ upcoming fixtures with the Roar (12 Jan) and Wellington (20 Jan). If Australia progress further in the tournament, he will be unavailable for an all-important clash with Melbourne City (25 Jan).
“We’re obviously disappointed to lose Joey at such a crucial time of the season, but that’s just something we have to overcome,” added Merrick.
“His call up, on top of the players we’ve already lost to the tournament and our injury toll certainly doesn’t make things easy at the selection table.”
Champness joins fellow Jets Nick Cowburn and Riley McGree in the Australian squad.