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Sydney's Payne relishing opportunity

Sydney FC striker Chris Payne is relishing the opportunities being given to him this season.

The 19-year old, who received the first Lucas Neill scholarship to train in England was tipped for big things when he arrived in the A-League ahead of the 2008/09 season but failed to live up to expectations in that season.

But with a new coach and fresh attitude, Payne has begun to pick up more minutes with the Sky Blues which he says has helped his confidence greatly.

"It's been a great opportunity this season," Payne said. "Last year didn't really work out as well as I'd hoped, but this year has been fantastic, it's gone really well, and [coach Vitezslav] Lavicka's got a lot of confidence which helps."

Payne netted his first senior A-League goal on Sunday in the 3-1 win over Newcastle Jets and was delighted - so much so, he kept a promise to his brothers and revealed a tattoo on his left arm to a camera that was close by.

"It was such a great moment to get my first A-League goal - to be honest I was so excited I didn't know what to do," he said.

"But I always said I was going to do something for my brothers when I did score my first goal, and I finally got to do it on Sunday.

"All three of us have each other's names on our arms. Only one of them was at the game but that wasn't really the point - it was just something I wanted to do."

But after the fun, Payne is aware there is plenty of hard work to do this season, with Sydney on the verge of a top-two finish and facing some tough matches coming up.

"I'll just take it as it comes, and see what happens. But as a team it's going to be a tough end to the season - I mean, Melbourne in the last game, it's a tough ask," he concluded.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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