Sydney FC Captain Alex Wilkinson has made a reputation for himself as one of the best and most respected players in Isuzu-UTE A-League history.
As much as his reputation as a great player comes his reputation as a gentleman on the field.
But what is he really like? We spoke to one of his closest friends, fellow Sydney FC legend Alex Brosque about the real Wilko – here’s what he had to say.
“Wilko’s a year younger than me and we grew up following similar paths in football.
“I played against him in the NSL back in the day and then played with him in the Australian Under 20’s, so we’ve been on a similar football journey.
“The earliest playing memory I have was when I was at Marconi and he was at Northern Spirit.
“I’d come up against him in an era where there were some monster defenders who would go out to hurt you.
I was young and I enjoyed playing against Wilko because you knew he was less physical, but I hated it as well because tactically his brain was always ahead of mine.
“He was smart, his positioning was exceptional and as great as it was to walk off the pitch without any bumps and bruises, I never really took anything out of the game which was more disappointing.
“I know now that he’s modest and intelligent person who has translated that character onto the field.
“There are a lot of nice guys in football who get white line fever and become different people when they get on the field, but Wilko was never like that.
“He would never need to say anything horrible or hurt anyone, and it’s his intelligence that has allowed him to play so well and for as long as he has.
“When I played with him I could see his organization and communication and how he would help others to improve their game.
“He would ensure that the backline was always where they should be and would tell others where they should be even before they even knew themselves.
“As the years wore on I got to know him more as a person than a player.
“I know he’s a big family man as I’ve shared many away trips and roomed with him.
“He was always checking in with his family back home and making sure his wife and two kids were ok.
“Rooming together we realized we both like a fun little bet now and again and any sport that you can bet on he’s interested in.
“We’d bet together on NBA, tennis, badminton – anything that you can think of we’d throw a couple of dollars on and have a laugh.
“We also do some property development work together and have been for the last couple of years.
“In business, he’s the same as he is on the field, he doesn’t change in any situation and he’s very laid back about it.
“The property business can be quite stressful and problematic at times but just as he is on field, he’s calm and doesn’t get phased by it.
“He adapts quickly and finds a good solution and we move forward.
“Naturally he doesn’t say much but he’s got that presence about him on and off the field that when he speaks everyone listens.
“No one questions him because whatever he says is meaningful and is designed to help.
“All the best Wilko – enjoy retirement, you fully deserve it.”