Hendrix: You have to just be there for the team

Jorrit Hendrix probably didn’t think he’d be spending most of the clash against Adelaide United at centre back instead of central midfield where fans have become used to seeing him so far in Red & Black.

Yet an early injury to Tom Beadling meant he was forced to play a key role in helping the Wanderers return to the winners circle with a 1-0 win, as well as keeping a fifth clean sheet of the season.

Whilst it is not the role the 28-year-old Dutchman is used to playing, he told Paramount Plus post-match it was not the first time he had partnered up with Wanderers captain Marcelo at the back.

“Actually, it’s really funny because in one of Marcelo’s (last) games at PSV, we played together as centre backs, and now we’re back playing together (again).

“It turned out to be a really good game defensively. Even in the second half it kept coming. When we conceded the red card they kept coming, and we had some really good clearances in the back.”

“Clean sheet (and) happy with the three points of course.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 15: Jorrit Hendrix of the Wanderers smiles after winning the A-League Men round eight match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United at CommBank Stadium, on December 15, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Hendrix stood out for the Wanderers despite being out of position, as he recorded two blocks, 11 clearances and four interceptions as the side withstood a late onslaught from the Reds after a red card in the second half.

Whilst it wasn’t the prettiest of victories for the Wanderers, it was an important one as they made an instant bounce back after their first defeat of the season the week before and climbed to third spot on the table as a result.

In that game and their 2-2 draw with the Brisbane Roar, the Wanderers were guilty of starting slow, and it was something the team was aware of during the leadup to the Adelaide match.

“The two games before here we started a little bit sloppy, even though the effort was there. But we just couldn’t get the good pressure… in the jewels we came too late, and then it’s difficult to get in the game.

“And now directly from the start, we were there. So that’s actually what changed.

“You have to start every game like this, but every game is different, Sometimes it doesn’t go as you plan. But if we keep going like this with this effort in the game, then the good things will come.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 15: Jorrit Hendrix of the Wanderers tackles Luka Jovanovic of United during the A-League Men round eight match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United at CommBank Stadium, on December 15, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Hendrix was the last signing before the season began, placing a multitude of pressure on the midfielder to fill the gap vacated by the departures of Calem Nieuwenhof and Morgan Schneiderlin in the middle of the park, but he has been highly impressive in his opening eight matches for the club.

He already has two assists, and has recorded 5.84 progressive passes and 1.83 tackles per 90 minutes, and has formed a good partnership with fellow new signing Josh Brillante.

In his short time in Australia, he has already noticed some similarities and differences between the A-League Men and Holland’s Eredivisie.

“I think both leagues – especially here – all the teams, they really like to play out from behind, put high pressure, even when they lose the ball. I think there’s a big comparison with the league in Holland.

“But also here (there are) a lot of transitions. I noticed when teams recover the ball they want to go attack as soon as possible, and sometimes maybe in the Eredivisie some teams take it a little bit slower, play more on (the) ball. Here, a lot of teams want to attack and it’s really intense.”

When asked whether he would prefer to play in midfield or at centre-back, the three-time Dutch champion gave a selfless response.

“(I’ll play) wherever the team needs me! Of course my favorite position is in the midfield that I played here before. And of course we have a lot of injuries, then we got a red card. So sometimes you have to switch.

“You have to just be there for the team, wherever it’s necessary.”