Sydney FC's 18-year-old striker George Blackwood is the latest subject of a regular feature where The World Game has a bit of fun with the game's stars by asking them questions they wouldn't normally be asked and letting their personalities shine.
Blackwood told TWG:
Why he loves going to training every day at Sydney FC;
What coach Graham Arnold is like around the players;
Why he's very much a Messi man over Ronaldo;
Which sporting event around the world he would love to see;
About his dream to play in Europe one day;
What sort of music he likes to listen to.
TWG: You played for Apia-Leichhardt before joining Sydney FC. Did you get a feel for the great history of that club while you were there?
GB: Yeah, I did. It was a good set-up and I really enjoyed it. It's a great club and with the playing surface at Lambert Park having been transformed into astro-turf I think it helps the club a lot as well. There are few Apia fans who come up for the Sydney FC games and it's always good to have that support. Apia was one of the biggest clubs in the old days and it was great to play for a club with a history like that.
TWG: It is one of the great old grounds, Lambert Park, but very hard to get a parking spot near there. Did you have your drivers' licence while you were still at Apia?
GB: Yeah, I always used to park a few streets away, in the back streets. I think they've got to do something about that, but I don't know what they can do! Our women's team has been playing there and some of our youth games are played there as well. The women have started to draw good crowds for their games, which makes it even harder to get a park. If they could build a car park, that would be great.
TWG: Did you finish Year 12 or did you leave school early for the sake of your football career?
GB: I finished Year 12 in 2014, but I didn't get my ATAR.
TWG: That means you finished school at 17. You must have started school as a four-year-old!
GB: Yeah, I think so. My mum's English and over there they always started school early, so she just automatically put me in at the same age here.
TWG: Are your best mates at Sydney FC the other young players, or have you developed some good relationships with the older players?
GB: I have developed some good friendships with the older players, but I am closest to the young players. Alex Gersbach, Chris Naumoff, Rhyan Grant, Seb Ryall, Anthony Bouzanis, Alex Mullen, Riley Woodcock, Brandon O'Neill, the list goes on. There are a lot of young guys here and it's a good environment. You feel happy rocking up to training every day, with the people here. There are a lot of good people at Sydney FC.
TWG: What about Graham Arnold, is he a bit of a father figure to a young player like yourself, as well as a coach?
GB: He's definitely a good mentor to have. Being a former striker himself he gives me lots of good advice and he's very good around training. He always tries to be upbeat. He carves a different figure with us than he does on match day, on the TV. He's very good.
TWG: What are your interests, apart from football?
GB: I just like hanging out with friends and going to the beach. I used to play cricket and I still love a game of backyard cricket, even a game of golf as well.
TWG: Are you a Messi man, or a Ronaldo man, or both, or someone else again?
GB: Messi, 100 per cent. Best ever.
TWG: What do you think is the essential difference between him and Ronaldo?
GB: I think Ronaldo is better in some areas, like heading, but I think Messi is above everyone with his ability to make the difference in games. His stats speak for themselves, with the number of assists as well as goals, and for me it's also the way he starts the play - he'll begin a move and then get on the end of it as well. He'll drop into midfield, put an absolutely amazing ball out wide to someone and then get into the box and score. As good as Ronaldo is, Messi is leaps and bounds in front of him overall, I think.
TWG: How much travelling have you done through football?
GB: Quite a bit. I went over to Colchester in England to train for a month when I was 16 and I've been to Asia a few times with Young Socceroo teams and stuff. It's been good.
TWG: What's your biggest ambition?
GB: I definitely want to go over and play in Europe eventually and I think I'm at the right club in Sydney FC to help propel me into Europe, so hopefully one day I can achieve that.
TWG: Graham Arnold has always been one to encourage his younger players to aim high and he has never tried to stand in the way of overseas moves, so you would be happy to have him coaching you in those circumstances.
GB: Yeah, very happy. At Central Coast he did that with a lot of players - Mustafa Amini, Mat Ryan and a few others. He'll guide me and let me know how I'm going, so I think I'm in the right place.
TWG: At which sporting event anywhere in the world would you love to have the best tickets in the house?
GB: The World Cup final most probably, but my dad and I have always wanted to go to the West Indies to watch a Test cricket match and I think that would be amazing as well. I wouldn't put that too far behind my first choice.
TWG: Are you still living at home with your parents?
GB: Yeah, I am at the moment. We're at Berowra, out near Hornsby. I've got two younger brothers at home as well. My youngest brother plays football and he's quite good. I think he's more of a cricket and tennis player, but he's still a very good footballer.
TWG: Do you love music or movies? Do you watch a lot of TV or read a lot?
GB: I listen to a lot of music. I watch a little bit of TV, mostly sport and a couple of series. I listen to a bit of Drake and stuff, but I really like Sticky Fingers and Ocean Alley and bands like that.
TWG: Finally, if you could have one wish come true to do with anything in your life, whether it's football or something else, what would it be?
GB: Probably to just be able to retire somewhere nice with my family at the end of my football career and not have to worry about money or anything like that.