As a boyhood Liverpool fan, you could have forgiven new Glory youngster Jake Brimmer for being overwhelmed by the occasion when lining up alongside his idol, Steven Gerrard, for the famous club.
However, this wasn’t to be the case for the Nunawading City junior, as despite his initial nerves, it didn’t take long for him to ease his way into the friendly match.
“Seeing my name next to his on the team-sheet before walking out is something I’ll never forget,” he said.
“It was a big deal. I was nervous at first as it was one of my first experiences with the first team squad, but just like everything at Melwood and Kirkby [Liverpool's training bases], it’s surreal and then it just becomes a reality."
The 19-year-old insists that his three years with the five-time European Champions were unforgettable after some initial hardships.
“I was quite homesick at first," he admitted. "I missed all my family and friends after moving when I was 16.
“But as the years got on, Liverpool became a home to me and to this day, I still miss the city itself.”
After warming to life on Merseyside, Brimmer feels that the culture around the club, and the academy especially, was perfect for his development both as a footballer and as a person.
“There was always such a great atmosphere at the club, everyone wanted to learn and make it to the top level," he recalled.
“Each training session had great intensity, everyone gave it their all because we all knew that at any time you might get the chance to go up and train with the first team.”
The midfielder was able to impress the academy staff during his stint and was brought up to train with the likes of Brazilian stars Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.
“It was a big step up from the academy to senior training," he said.
"The pace and the quality of the players around you was immense, especially in terms of the technical side of the game with their awareness and pressing, so you have to adapt quickly.”
Of all the lessons he learned while with Liverpool, Brimmer is adamant that the most important came from Gerrard, the man who skippered both club and country.
“His determination and drive was second to none,” he stated.
“No matter who he was playing against, or if there were youth boys in there, he just gave it his all every time and he was always welcoming to the younger players. He was up for a chat no matter who you were.
“His professionalism was another big lesson; he’s always got a water bottle in his hand, for example. It's all the little things he does that make him the most professional player I’ve ever played with.”
It’s this mentality and focus that Brimmer is hoping to bring to the Glory squad ahead of a massive Hyundai A-League campaign for the club.
And the Melburnian, who’s known for his lethal set-piece ability and can operate both in a defensive or more advanced midfield role, relished the opportunity to learn from the club’s Spanish contingent during pre-season.
“I think playing alongside Xavi Torres and Andreu has been incredible," he said. "They’ve played at the top level, so I try to take in as much from them as possible.”
The teenager, who has represented Australia at U-16, U-17 and U-20 level, also has strong Socceroos ambitions and cannot wait to show the nation what he’s capable of.
“Combined with the great things I’d heard about Perth Glory and Kenny Lowe, becoming a Socceroo is one of the main reasons I’ve come back to Australia," he revealed.
“To get under the eye of Ange [Postecoglou] is really important for me because the World Cup is around the corner and you never know, one good season and all of a sudden you could be there in Russia. So I’m determined to give it my all.
“I can’t wait to play some first team football and to play consistent games, so hopefully I can impress the manager and impress Australia as I start fresh.
“I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted to be in England; I wanted to be playing week in, week out in a professional league.”
You can catch Brimmer in action in Round 3 against the Mariners at nib Stadium by grabbing your tickets here: