Adelaide’s other ‘very, very special player’, who caught Chelsea’s eye

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In the aftermath of Adelaide United’s round-one win over the reigning Isuzu UTE A-League champions, there was a telling moment in Carl Veart’s press conference.

“Jonny is a very, very special player and I’ve been saying that for a long time,” Veart told reporters post-match.

Adelaide had just beaten Central Coast Mariners 3-0 at Cooper Stadium, where the club’s famed production line was on show once more in the post-Craig Goodwin era, but Veart singled out his 18-year-old, playing in the centre of midfield, in just his third start.

While all eyes are on Nestory Irankunda, there’s another teenager to get excited about as well.  

But, Yull’s exploits should not come as a surprise.

He is one of the brightest young talents in Australian football and another gem off Adelaide’s conveyer belt of talent, with 10 A-League Men appearances to his name, having risen through the club’s youth system after signing a scholarship contract in 2021.

At 15 years and 321 days, the UK-born youngster became the third youngest player to represent Adelaide – behind Teeboy Kamara and Mohamed Toure – after his substitute appearance against Perth Glory in Round 4 of the 2020-21 Isuzu UTE A-League.

London came calling for the teenager last year, when Yull was invited to Premier League powerhouse Chelsea for a two-week trial.

Having caught the eye of Chelsea’s academy, the Blues extended that trial to a month as he appeared for their Under-18 and U21 teams and they even made a bid for the gifted teen, however it was rejected by Adelaide.

Also previously linked with Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion, Yull also represented Australia for the first time via the AFC U20 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan.

Yull scored in the remarkable 9-1 rout of Qatar as the Young Socceroos reached the quarter-finals before suffering a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out loss to Uzbekistan in the last eight.

In 2022-23, he made seven appearances for Adelaide, while he was also part of the club’s National Premier League side that won the NPL SA title.

Heading into this season, Yull penned his first major contract after committing to Adelaide for the next three years.

‘We’ve seen what he’s capable of with both feet and he is in the right environment to keep growing and progressing his game at this club,” Veart said at the time.

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