Following a breakout 2020/21 season, Kusini Yengi is ready to assume more responsibility as the starting striker.
Yengi’s burgeoning career has maintained an upward trajectory since his senior debut in February 2020.
He scored four goals last campaign for Adelaide United and is hoping to build on that as the main man heading into his third season.
The 22-year-old switched numbers in the offseason and now wears the coveted number nine shirt – entrusted to lead the line by Head Coach Carl Veart after the departure of Tomi Juric.
“I want to help my team win games,” Yengi told reporters at a press conference.
“They’ve put their faith in me and I’ve got number nine on my back. So I do feel responsibility to help my team and lead my team when I’m off the pitch as well.”
Yengi said his primary goal during the offseason was to get fitter and stronger and he believes he has achieved that, drawing inspiration from the world’s best.
“Getting fit number one, staying fit, but also adding goals to my game,” Yengi said when quizzed about his pre-season focus.
“You see all the top strikers over in Europe, people like (Erling Haaland), they’re scoring a goal every game pretty much and that’s something that I want to do.”
The Reds face Perth Glory on Saturday night to begin their 2021/22 journey, and there is a fair chance former Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge will feature in some capacity.
“Growing up I used to watch him,” he said about the Englishman.
“I used to watch the Premier League so I’ve seen him play for Liverpool and Chelsea and teams like that.”
Yengi went on to discuss what his boss is expecting from him and revealed he hopes to see him utilise his best attributes.
“I think he (Carl Veart) just wants to see me dominate on the pitch,” he explained.
“I’m a big boy and I can throw my weight around, so just dominate and when I’m on the ball be strong, get into the box and score goals.”
Saturday, 20 November vs Perth Glory
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Round 1
Kick-off 9.35pm ACDT
Venue: HBF Park