Fix A-League player-churn issue: Wilkinson

Adrian Warren
Alex Wilkinson has extended his A-League contract with Sydney FC by one year

Sydney FC captain Alex Wilkinson says the player churn caused by short-term contacts is one of the A-League's biggest problems and needs fixing.

The 35-year-old centre back on Thursday signed a one-year contract extension through to the end of the 2020-21 season, but said a lot of younger players don't get offered the security of multi-year deals and leave.

"One of the biggest problems in the A-League at the moment is the player churn with short-term contracts, that's something that the PFA have highlighted over the last couple of years," Wilkinson said on Friday.

"It's something that we need to look at fixing because short-term contracts and the constant player churn isn't great for footballers' careers and their ability to get better and improve.

"It's one thing Sydney do very, very well is keep players together and keep the core group together.

"I was more than happy to extend my time here."

Defending champions Sydney have won five of their first six games and a draw away to Western United on Sunday put them top of the ladder above Melbourne City, who have the bye.

"It can always be difficult the season after winning the grand final to back it up, we've started really, really well," Wilkinson said.

"But we're not going to rest on our laurels by any means, we've still got a lot of improvement to come both defensively and when we've got the ball."

One area that remains a sore point is Sydney's failure to keep a clean sheet in any of their first six games.

"That's one area that especially being a defender I'm pretty disappointed in and we work very hard on our defensive structure as a team," Wilkinson said.

On Sunday, he will oppose his central defensive partner in last season's grand final in Aaron Calver, who he remains in regular contact with since he joined United.

"I was pretty sad to see him go, he did very well for us," Wilkinson said.

"He's had a few little injuries here and there throughout his career that have probably limited him playing as regularly as he would like to.

"Now that he's back in the Western team, hopefully he can stay injury-free and get a full season under his belt and I think the sky is the limit for him.

"He's great with the ball at his feet, he's quick, he's a good athlete and hopefully he can push on."