Wellington Phoenix midfielder Cam Devlin is entering his most important season to date, as he eyes a potential A-League title and a trip to the Tokyo Olympics with the Australian Olyroos.
The 22-year-old was the standout player for the 'Nix in their opening round 2-1 loss to Sydney FC, but after his breakout 2019/20 season, Devlin is focussed on his goals for this year.
"The only way I'm going to help the 'Nix win a title and get a plane ticket to Tokyo is to perform week in week out with my club, so that's my focus,” Devlin tells Newshub.
"This season is a very big season for me. Last season was my first chance to show what I'm about and I've worked so hard in the off-season."
In particular, he’s worked making himself better in his position.
"I feel like my defence is a strong part of my game," he says. "I've tried to add a little bit more to that - I'm trying to block passing lanes too.
"And then I want to be a lot better on the ball, I want to be able to find my creative players around me."
The Phoenix were disappointed with their first-round loss to Sydney, after conceding two very nice goals, but dominating the second half.
"To be honest, after the game, I was shattered," says Devlin. "We should have at least got a draw out of it."
But Devlin admits they need to start better this weekend.
"The first half, the boys were a bit timid. We should've just shown more confidence and belief at the start, which we've spoken about, we've addressed and everyone knows that."
On Saturday, they will look to change that against A-League newcomers Macarthur FC, who have had a mixed start to their campaign, with a win and a loss.
"We like to be prepared as best we can, but the focus is on us and what we can do," Devlin says. "We are lucky we versed them in a friendly game and we know a bit of their style.
"They look a good team on paper - they have a lot of experience, a lot of good new young players that we haven't seen much of. There's no easy game in the A-League and they're showing that they're not here to make up numbers.
"We just want nothing less than three points."
The Aussie is in one of the rare examples of a player living at home, while the A-League is based in Australia, something he relishes.
"Being back home, it just gives me that chance to go to training and work as hard as I can, and then come home and relax and take my mind off football," Devlin says.
The Phoenix are led by a player Devlin looks up - Mexican Ulises Davila - who has taken over from inspirational captain Steven Taylor after his departure for India.
"He's not the sort of captain to bark orders, he's the sort of the captain to lead by his actions. In my opinion, action speaks louder than words.
“I follow him around training just to learn as much as I can, and soak up his experience as a midfielder and just what to do in certain situations,” Devlin adds.
The Phoenix take on Macarthur FC in their second match of the A League season on Saturday night.