A DAY hasn't gone by without Jets coach Carl Robinson imparting some form of knowledge to Angus Thurgate.
And the promising midfielder wouldn't want it any other way.
After playing seemingly everywhere bar his preferred position under previous coaches, Thurgate has been deployed exclusively in the centre of the park since Robinson took the reins 10 games ago.
"I wasn't quite sure when Carl took over where I would play," Thurgate said. "But as soon as he come in he said he didn't see me anywhere else bar midfield."
It's a position Robinson knows plenty about. He played 52 times for Wales in that role and spent more than a decade plying his trade in the top tiers in England.
"He puts more emphasis on attention to detail with the midfielders," Thurgate said. "I don't think I have gone through a day without him giving me information. He has given me a few players to watch but it's more picking up things I have done during the game - whether they are good or bad. Not necessarily bad things but wrong decisions and ways I can fix them. It has been great to have someone who has an emphasis on midfield work help you."
The work the coach is putting into Thurgate and Steve Ugarkovic is paying dividends. Thurgate has started in the three games back since the COVID-19 break - keeping Welsh international Joe Ledley on the bench.
"Gus has been excellent, not just since the break, but since I've come in," Robinson said. "Being a midfield player myself, I'm pretty picky. If I see him make a bad pass or bad decision, then my job - because I used to see it myself and I used to get taught - is to get on them. I give them a bit of a hard time and I expect a certain level of play. Stevie and Gus have been at such a high level in games that it's been difficult for me to leave them out, and I don't want to leave them out. I'm a manager that if you play well, no matter how old you are or if you're the superstar or you're not, you'll stay in the team. That's how you build squads. It's not just about teams it's about squads."
Thurgate will only have Thursday's clash with Wellington in Sydney to further develop this season after the Jets' hopes of making the finals were crushed when sixth-placed Adelaide drew 1-all with Sydney on Thursday night. The point moved the Reds four points clear.
"It was a bit of a downer for us but it was out of our hands," Thurgate said. "As soon as you are relying on other teams, you know you have left it a bit too late."
However, Thurgate was adamant the Jets' desire to finish the season well was as strong as ever.
"There is no doubt that we are playing some good football," Thurgate said. "We want to finish the season on a high."
A win would also be a positive springboard towards next season, which has been flagged to start in December.
"Carl has only had a relatively short time to get across the way he wants to play and the way he wants us to approach the game," Thurgate said. "With a bit more time and longer pre-season we should really adapt and know what we need to do and ultimately get results."
Three points against Phoenix would also give the Jets a clean sweep over the top three sides.
"We know we can beat anybody on our day," Thurgate said. "We showed that against Sydney and Melbourne City. We have confidence for next season."
The Jets have been caught up in the COVID-19 spread in the Hunter. One of their academy players is infected and a spectator at the 1-0 win over Western United also has the virus.
"All we can focus on is sticking to our guidelines and abiding by the health and safety precautions," Thurgate said. "If anything it makes us more diligent."
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