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Aspro to step up after WSW skipper's exit

AAP logoAAP 20/10/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Every day for the past two years at Western Sydney, Jonathan Aspropotamitis watched his skipper and realised how much leadership quality was lacking in his game.

But now that the revered Nikolai Topor-Stanley has left the A-League, the 20-year-old prodigy knows now it's time to put all that knowledge to good use.

"The communication side of the game, being more of a leader and taking more initiative when I'm in the back four, trying to speak to the guys in front of me," Aspropotamitis told AAP.

"That's the biggest thing I've learnt from him and I'm really thankful for that.

"Obviously he's a big loss to the club but we've just got to move on and fill the void because all the leadership that he portrayed to the club, we've all got to step in."

In typical Tony Popovic fashion, the Wanderers coach spent little time dwelling on the loss of their foundation player this week, instead focusing on their next match against Newcastle.

Aspropotamitis said the playing group knew how much influence Topor-Stanley had on the club.

"Three grand finals, Asian Champions League ... every success the club had he's been a part of," the 20-year-old said.

"But we've just gotten on with things. Everyone knows the influence he had, but it's business as usual. It's part of football.

"Being in the world of football we are, there's always people being persuaded away, especially when you're in a successful team."

After making his first appearance of the A-League season against Adelaide last week, Aspropotamitis admits he now has a chance to cement his spot in the team.

"Because he's left, there's a spot there if I'm able to take that opportunity," he said.

"But because I've learnt so much from him and I was happy to do so if he did stay. The competition for places with us centre-backs was fantastic and still is."

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