Football 2 years ago

Maclaren eyes Socceroos debut v England

  • Maclaren eyes Socceroos debut v England

    BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 12: Brisbane Roar player Jamie Maclaren poses during a portrait session at Suncorp Stadium on April 12, 2016 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Jamie Vardy's inspirational title season at Leicester City has Socceroo hopeful Jamie Maclaren dreaming of his own fairytale.

Maclaren is coming off a brilliant season himself, having slotted 20 A-League goals for the Brisbane Roar to stand on the verge of making his Australian debut this week.

The 22-year-old linked up with the Socceroos squad in Newcastle on Monday afternoon ahead of Friday's friendly against England at Sunderland's Stadium Of Light.

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It's meant a return to England, where he spent four formative years with Blackburn Rovers before being let go in 2013 and joining the Perth Glory.

While his first attempt to make it in England didn't quite work out, Maclaren hasn't give up hope of forging a career at the highest level, particularly after watching Vardy's whirlwind rise from non-league footballer to Premier League title winner.

"It's a similar situation to what I was, last year at Perth Glory when I was finding myself on the bench coming on and scoring and I just couldn't get into that starting eleven, Maclaren said.

"It just shows belief. If you believe in yourself and you believe in your ability, I don't think there's many players that can stop you.

"I know what it's like in England to break in, it's not easy.

"It's a good stepping stone, Brisbane Roar. If I can maybe bust out another season with hopefully 20 more goals and if I can stay in this Socceroo environment it will be great."

Maclaren's prolific season almost forced Ange Postecoglou's selection hand ahead of Friday's friendly with England, and the two-game home series against Greece next month.

He finished the A-League season as the leading Australian scorer, helping the Roar to a third-placed finish.

It was only four short of the 24 goals Vardy netted in spearheading Leicester City's unlikely Premier League title win.

Vardy won't be playing on Friday night having been granted time off to get married on Wednesday, but England will still field a formidable team ahead of next month's European Championships in France.

Maclaren says scoring against England would be a dream come true, but his focus is only on forcing his way into the team.

"It would definitely be the pinnacle (to play). One, it would mean my Socceroos debut but not just that, (against) a country that's given me my development of football, England, it would just be a great feeling," Maclaren said.

"I've got my family and ex-teammates that will come to watch the game.

"I'm coming off the back of a 34-game season including the Olyroos games.

"I'm young, I'm fresh, I've been training - I've been doing double sessions - I'm probably the fittest I've ever actually been.

"If the boss is going to say `Jamie I need you to play this amount', I'm going to be able to match that."

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