There have been plenty of highlights for Brandon Wilson during this off-season; and not just the bleached ones that have appeared in his hair.
The talented midfielder, who made 22 appearances for Glory last season, has just returned from Myanmar where he helped Australia’s Under-23 side secure qualification for next year’s AFC Under-23 Championships in China.
And he thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
“Before heading over to Myanmar we had a camp in Sydney and that went really well,” he said.
“We were unbeaten in the games that we played during the camp, so that meant our confidence levels were high heading into the tournament itself.
“We played brilliantly in the first game and won 2-0 against Brunei, then we met Singapore and beat them 9-0 before finishing up against Myanmar and winning that one 3-0.
“[Head Coach] Josep Gombau was happy with everyone and how we played and was saying that it was good to get qualification done and dusted so that we can now just focus on China in January.”
At a personal level, meanwhile, the 21-year-old felt that he acquitted himself well during both the camp and the tournament.
“I was pretty happy with my performances,” he said.
“I only played in the first game when we won 2-0 and then he [Gombau] basically played an entirely different team for the second game.
“The idea was that he’d then mix it up and pick whoever had played the best in the first two games for the last one. But the lads who played in the second game basically produced the performance of their lives in that 9-0 win, so he stuck with them and that’s just how football works sometimes.
“He did say that he was happy with the way I played in that first game, though.”
With qualification secured, the members of the Under-23 squad can now refocus upon their club commitments and Wilson feels that his international exertions have given his pre-season preparations a major boost.
“The next step for me in terms of the national side is a 10-day camp that we are due to have just before the tournament starts in January,” he explained, “and then we’ll be in China for two weeks.
“There’s nothing between now and then because obviously they don’t want to take us away from our clubs once the A-League starts.
“Overall, it was the perfect way to get a bit of extra fitness into myself, to really sweat it out and lose that bit of pre-season weight. The tempo in training was great, so now I’ll look to build on that, get fitter and stronger and hopefully force my way into the Glory team.”
And finally, what has been the reaction to those new highlights that the former Burnley man is currently sporting?
“It’s been mixed!” he said. “Some people love them and others hate them.
“I’ve had some grief from my former Glory teammate Jordan Thurtell on Instagram. He likes a bit of banter, but he doesn’t really bring anything to the table to be honest.
“And whatever anyone says, they’re staying, so people are just going to have to get used to them!”