Matthew Foschini's third season at Melbourne Victory has turned into a steep learning curve.
Harry Kewell's arrival, Mehmet Durakovic's departure and his own controversial suspension have turned Matthew Foschini's third season at Melbourne Victory into 'a steep learning curve'.
Foschini has cemented his place in the back third and has played all but two matches in 2011/12.
The 21-year said his development had sky-rocketed amid the mayhem at Victory.
"I feel like I am becoming a better professional footballer after each game that I play. I try to learn as much as I can off the senior players," Foschini said.
"I have a lot more confidence in myself now that I play A-League week in week out and I feel as though I can be a leader in my own right.
"Sometimes I feel I can get the team up and going just by myself and it's important for somebody to do that we things aren't going the team's way no matter how experienced they are," he said.
Foschini was thrust into the national football spotlight last November when controversially suspended for a dangerous tackle against Brisbane Roar.
Not only did the FFA Match Review Panel deem Foschini's foul red-card worthy, they added an extra match onto Foschini's ban due to Victory's 'frivolous' appeal.
"It was a bit unsettling and a little bit harsh. It definitely hit me pretty hard," he said.
"I went away with the Olyroos at the time and that was good because I still had something to focus on.
"It's good to go through those things in your career just to see how you bounce back from it at the other end. I feel it made me more mentally mature."
The Oakleigh Cannons product was an avid Victory fan in his teens and was in the stands to cheer on the 2008 Grand Final triumph over Adelaide United.
His dream came true the following year when he joined Australia's biggest club but a championship has eluded Victory ever since.
"I have been coached by all three managers that Melbourne Victory have had - each have their own style," Foschini said.
"We've had different players come in and we have always had a strong squad we just haven't been able to put it together at the club and win the championship. But I am confident with the new manager and the way the squad is starting to play that we can make a late run at the title this year."
Foschini credits his rise to prominence in the Victory defence to club stalwart Kevin Muscat, who after forging a brilliant career down back himself, handed over the No.2 shirt to Foschini.
"Muscy is someone who has always looks after me. I have a really good relationship with him and so I go to him for on-field and off-field advice all the time.
"To have someone like that around here to give me advice is something I'm really lucky to have because he got the best out of himself for 10 to 15 years."
Foschini, whose father played AFL for Sydney and St Kilda in the 1980s, is desperate to stay put in the Victorian capital for as long as he can.
"I am a Melbourne boy, born and bred, and just want to consolidate my spot at the Victory and get a few years under my belt in the A-League and see where that takes me."
Foschini said he had been lucky to play alongside Victory's marquee man Harry Kewell and believed the famed Qantas Socceroo was about to unleash his best on the Hyundai A-League.
"He hasn't taken a backward step. He is one of the first at training and the last to leave and a young boy like myself to see someone still giving so much away from match day is.
"It's very motivating for the younger players at our club. We all want to train harder after getting to know him."
Meanwhile Foschini is convinced that Victory can make a genuine charge towards the finals under new coach Jim Magilton.
"The new boss has brought freshness as new managers do. Maybe that's what we needed," he said.
"At the end of the day we have to implement what he wants us to do and that's the only way we will be able to win more matches.
"We need to start stringing some results together towards the backend of the season if we are any chance of playing finals."