Brisbane Roar FC striker Jamie Maclaren has credited hard work and determination for his call-up to the Caltex Socceroos squad and a dream debut against England.
The 23-year old had a breakout 2015-16 Hyundai A-League season where he was the competition’s highest-scoring Australian, netting 20 times for the Roar.
Maclaren has previously represented Australia at Under-20 and Under-23 levels and featured in the Olyroos’ 2016 AFC Under-23 Championship campaign where he scored in a 2-0 win over Vietnam before making his Caltex Socceroos debut on May 28th against England.
“It’s an honour to get the call-up and to debut in England against England was a special moment,” Maclaren said.
Following a disappointing end to the 2016 AFC Under-23 Championships, where the Olyroos narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Maclaren remained determined as ever to wear the green and gold again.
“Ever since we got knocked out in the Olympic campaign, the only time we could put on an Australian kit again was to represent the Socceroos,” Maclaren said.
“Since January I’ve worked extra hard to get myself in the best form possible.”
Maclaren is included in the Australian side to face Greece at ANZ Stadium, Sydney on Saturday, 4th June (8pm kick-off) and at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on Tuesday, 7th June (8pm kick-off).
The Caltex Socceroos haven’t met the 2004 European Champions since 2006 when they played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of a massive crowd of over 95,000 people.
Maclaren expects a stern test from an opposition boasting talented players such as Benfica star Andreas Samaris and Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
“Greece have won the Euro [Championship] and their domestic competition is of a very high standard,” Maclaren said.
“They also have players plying their trade in top quality domestic competitions like Germany and Portugal.”
A first international goal is on the horizon for Maclaren following an impressive 60 minutes against England where he forced last-gasp challenges from Southampton shot stopper Fraser Forster and Manchester United defender Chris Smalling.
Brisbane’s talisman striker is looking forward to experiencing an international match on home soil and hopes to learn from some of the Socceroos’ more-seasoned players.
“To represent your country in front of your home fans, I don’t think it gets much better than that,” Maclaren said.
“To see the fans who support their Hyundai A-League clubs stick together and support the nation in green and gold is amazing and something I’m really looking forward to witnessing first hand.
“I want to learn from the more-experienced players like [Mile] Jedinak, [Tim] Cahill and [Mark] Milligan on how to handle the pressure of international football.”