JETS rising star Angus Thurgate has learned to treat every training session and every game as a chance to impress.
The 20-year-old has lived by that motto since bursting onto the A-League in 2018.
Even more so now.
After a career-best finish to the 2019-20 campaign, Thurgate is out to make every moment count.
The Jets take on Brisbane Roar in a pre-season friendly at Coffs Harbour on Saturday.
The clash, played just up the road from Thurgate's hometown Port Macquarie, is the Jets' penultimate hit out before kicking off the season against the Central Coast in Gosford on New Year's Eve.
It will also be the final chance to impress before a new coach is appointed. That is earmarked for next week, once the transfer of ownership from Martin Lee to a new consortium is finalised.
"That's football. You are always trying to impress," Thurgate said. "Even though I was playing every game at the end of last season, I was still looking to impress. That is normal for every footballer.
"With a new coach coming in, you don't know if you will be playing or not. All you can do is get yourself in the best shape and perform so you can give him no doubts about you playing."
The Jets have been awaiting the appointment of a new coach since Carl Robinson's shock defection to Western Sydney in October.
Craig Deans and Daniel McBreen have held the reins in the meantime.
"None of us really talk about it. We have our blinkers on," Thurgate said. "We are here to train, we are here to work hard, whether that is with the coaches here or with the coaches who come in.
"We are trying to get ourselves as ready as possible for round one and hopefully have a strong season.
"You just try and impress every day at training and in games, knowing that there is a new coach to come in and he is looking at video. It's good for us. The quality of training is higher and it ensures that we are not just going through the motion."
Thurgate has lived up to his end of the bargain.
After impressing Olyroos coach Graham Arnold at an Australian under-23 training camp last month, the box-to-box midfielder has been among the Jets' best in back to back 3-all draws against Macarthur and Melbourne City.
"We sscored three goals, which is always positive. I guess at the other end we conceded three," Thurgate said. "There were good moments in the game and there were moments we have to work on as well. We are still in the middle of our pre-season so I guess a 3-all draw with last season's grand finalists is not a bad result.
"I am finding the sharpness I had towards the end of last season and trying to work in the midfield with Steve Ugarkovic. There were moments where it felt like it was clicking again.
"It has been good getting minutes back in the legs. I'm still not as sharp as I was at the end of the season, but that will come with more training and more games."
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