JETS INSIDER - Gary van Egmond

In this week’s edition of Jets Insider, Gary van Egmond is answering questions submitted by the club’s Members and supporters.

In this week-s edition of Jets Insider, head coach Gary van Egmond is answering questions submitted by the club-s Members and supporters.

Van Egmond discusses topics such as the development of some of the younger Jets players, player signings and dealing with public opinion and scrutiny.

Bruce asks via email: Why is it your obvious reluctance to have experienced defenders play? Being a former back yourself, your back line must provide solidity, desperation and toughness to any team; which is clearly missing this year. Remember defence wins games. Please for the members sake!

GvE: In the last three games I think we-ve been defending fairly resolutely and it-s not only the back four that get the credit for that, but right through the whole of the team.

I understand where you-re coming from, because it-s nice to have some players in there with experience. I think the likes of Connor Chapman, Taylor Regan, Scott Neville and Sam Gallaway, while they-re not experienced as far as age is concerned, they are very capable players and have show that over the last few weeks.

I don-t see it as being a case that we-re looking not to use experienced players, we look to play all players on their merits, whether they be 17 or 35.

Mitch McDonough asks via email: Sydney FC released Petratos off his contract in order to sign Joel Griffiths. Countless other A-league teams have released players in order to recruit other players. Did you want, and attempt, to do likewise in order to sign Joel Griffiths? You have said previously you have always been in constant contact Joel. Who do the fans have to blame for letting arguably the biggest travesty in our clubs history, in Joel signing for someone else, happen?

GvE: Obviously there-s a lot of history with Joel being at the club and I would have loved to have Joel back at the Jets, but there-s a salary cap in place that you have to adhere to. We- just didn-t have room within our squad. We already had 23 players who were happy playing for Newcastle, so we were unable to do anything at the time.

Unfortunately we weren-t able to bring Joel back to the Jets, but I think it-s also about endorsing and embracing the players that we have and ensuring that we give them the support that they need.

Mia Lonergan asks via email: Why have you resigned Ben Kennedy for another two seasons?

GvE: As far as Ben is concerned, I think he-s obviously a very, very good goalkeeper and the competition between him and Mark Birighitti for that number one spot will be ongoing.

I-m more than happy to have Ben here for a couple more years as a local product and it-s up to him now to keep fighting for a starting spot.

@Chrem93 asks via Twitter: Gary, is the match day squad from recent weeks the one you've basically settled on for the rest of the season?

GvE: From the perspective of our performance, they-ve done very well. We-ve probably come into a patch where we-ve played some very good games and we-ve obviously been buoyed by the results as well.

That-s not to say our line-up is set in stone. There are always cases where we might have to look at other options because of who we-re playing, but most of these players deserve to play at this stage because of what they-ve shown.

@MattClark26 asks via Twitter: How important do you think a goalkeeper is to a team from 1-10?

GvE: It-s always very important to have a good goalkeeper and we-re very lucky that we-ve got two in Mark Birighitti and Ben Kennedy. There-s also Jack Duncan who is probably touted as the best goalkeeper for his age as well.

@mcscott_ asks via Twitter: Are the young boys like Mitch Cooper and Mitch Oxborrow a chance to get a run in the first team soon?

GvE: We have to have a look and see how the team is progressing and performing and if they warrant selection they-ll get their opportunity. If they-re showing good form in the youth team and showing good form at training and perhaps some other players lose form, then it-s always something we-re looking at.

@mcscott_ asks via Twitter: Are you pleased with the progression the young boys like Connor Chapman, Josh Brillante have made in recent weeks?

GvE: They-re definitely progressing nicely and the more experience they can get, the more game time they can get and the more training they can get, it-s only going to accelerate their development.

@double_pen asks via Twitter: Each week there's public unrest at some team selections. How do you a) pick your 11 b) deal with public opinion?

GvE: Picking your 11 is results and performance based. There are times, especially with the young ones, where we have to be a little bit careful with them, even if they-re doing quite well. You have to make sure they don-t get burnt out and we-ve done that this year a few times with young Craig Goodwin and James Virgili.

It-s their first full season of full-time football and it-s quite an arduous campaign so we have to make sure we monitor the effects of that.

In regards to dealing with public opinion, I think there was a famous coach who said if you start listening to the fans too much, you-ll end up sitting with the fans, so from my point of view I try not to read too much into it.

@MattWhite666 Hey Gaz, can I ask why Bernardo is not getting first team football with his experience and goal ability?

GvE: As far as Bernardo is concerned, it-s all down to effectiveness and results in regards to when the team plays. The last three games, we-ve collectively done quite well in not conceding, but also we-ve created a number of chances, but just haven-t taken them.

The way we-re going, it doesn-t call for change right at this moment, but you never know with injuries and suspensions, which add up during a long season, there-s every chance he-ll get another opportunity.

For next week-s Jets Insider interview defender Sam Gallaway, will answer YOUR questions. Simply tweet your question using the #JetsInsider hashtag or send your question to communications@huntersportsgroup.com by COB Wednesday. Then check back in Jets Insider next week to see if your question is answered.