Kew Jaliens says he is looking forward to testing himself against Alessandro Del Piero when the Jets take on Sydney FC on Friday.
Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets defender Kew Jaliens says he is looking forward to testing himself against former Italian international Alessandro Del Piero when the Jets take on Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
While both Jaliens and Del Piero featured for their respective countries at the 2006 World Cup, the pair are yet to cross paths in a competitive match.
Jaliens said he was eagerly anticipating the challenge of marking Del Piero on Friday night.
“It will be the first time I-ve played against him. I-m looking forward to it, he-s a very good player,” Jaliens explained.
“I know players who have played with him and I-ve watched him on TV, so it-s a great opportunity for me to challenge him.”
Jaliens said Del Piero-s ability with the dead ball meant the Jets had to be wary of giving away free-kicks on the edge of the penalty area.
“This is his great quality and if you make stupid fouls, he-s the one that can punish you. It-s up to us not to concede stupid free-kicks and let them in the box,” Jaliens said.
“He-s a player you must mark very closely and be rough on him, so he doesn-t have a good day.”
Jaliens said the Jets- preparations had stepped up a gear in days leading up to Friday-s blockbuster clash.
“It-s been more tense. Everybody has been waiting for this first game and now it-s around the corner,” Jaliens said.
“Everyone is fighting for their spot and we want to get a good result, so the pace went up this week.
“All pre-season you-re waiting for the first match and now it-s just around the corner, so you want to perform and show what you can do.
“This is what makes it exciting and this is why you play the game, to play games like this.”
After notching two wins and a draw against Sydney FC last season, Jaliens said the Jets are feeling confident going into Round 1.
“We are comfortable, we know what to do, but the fact is, the confidence will come from winning points and this is what we need to do from Friday onwards,” Jaliens said.
“I know the way they play. I-ve seen some video and played against them in pre-season.
“We know what they-re up to, their good points and their weak points and we-ve got a really good feeling.”