Nathaniel Atkinson can be one of the A-League's best defenders, says Socceroo Andrew Nabbout.
Into his fifth year at Melbourne City, Atkinson has established himself as one of the regulars in Patrick Kisnorbo's side and played in last year's 1-0 grand final loss to Sydney FC.
Having skippered Australia's under-19s team in 2018, Atkinson has gone on to play three games for the under-23 Olyroos and appears a good chance to represent Australia in Tokyo this year should the Olympics go ahead as planned.
Nabbout, who has played both with and against the 21-year-old ex-Riverside Olympic talent, said Atkinson was quickly making a name for himself.
"He doesn't look like the most powerful guy but he's really explosive and he's really fast," Nabbout told My Football's YouTube channel.
"I just remember thinking 'wow, this guy's something special' and luckily now I'm on his side so I don't have to go through that.
"If he keeps his head on his shoulders and keeps working hard, because he is a very hard worker, and just keeps developing he'll be by far one of the best right-backs in the A-League."
A former Riverside primary and high student, Atkinson's ascension of the A-League ranks has come at an exciting time for soccer in Tasmania.
The state is embarking on another bid to see a Tasmanian side compete in the A-League, and in the meantime will have Western United play four matches at UTAS Stadium over the next two years.
News on whether Launceston will be among the host cities for the 2023 Women's World Cup is overdue, with FIFA originally planning to make its final decision by February.
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