Maclaren Firing On All Cylinders

New recruit Jamie Maclaren linked up with his new Glory team-mates for the first time this week and the 19-year-old attacker certainly hit the ground running.

New recruit Jamie Maclaren linked up with his new Glory team-mates for the first time this week and the 19-year-old attacker certainly hit the ground running.

Impressing with his touch, movement and work-rate on the training ground, he has also blended in well with the playing group, a transition made easier by the close bonds he had previously formed with Head Coach Alistair Edwards and several of his new club-mates while representing Australia at various age levels.

"I've settled in really well," he said. "Perth's a lovely place and I'm really looking forward to living here. "I've got a few mates like Cameron and Ryan Edwards and Danny De Silva who are from Perth and they said some great things about it. "Alistair (Edwards) definitely played a massive role in my decision to come. "I believe he-ll help develop my football at club level which will hopefully allow me to fulfil my ambition to keep progressing through the national team setup. "And of course I know that Perth Glory is such a big club with a great history and fan base. "Those factors made it a really appealing club to come to."

Adapting to new circumstances is of course nothing new for Maclaren who left his native Melbourne to join then-English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers at the tender age of 15. And he feels that his four years at Ewood Park provided him with vital life experience.

"My dad is Scottish so I had a British passport and I went over to Blackburn on my own at 15. "I really learnt a lot living away from home at such a young age. "For the first two years I was in digs with about ten boys and two house parents and after that I'd had enough and went and bought my own apartment because I wanted my own space."

And while the rising young star quickly found his feet on the field, he could hardly have joined the Lancashire outfit at a more tumultuous time.

No fewer than five managers came and went during his time there, the club was taken over by Indian business group Venky's whose controversial ownership style prompted a wave of fan protests and in 2012, Rovers were relegated from the top flight for the first time in eleven years.

"When I started there," he said, "Sam Allardyce was in charge and he got sacked when we were sitting sixth in the Premier League. "Then Steve Kean came in and did ok for the first year, but then the fans got on his back and there was a lot of politics going on with Venky's. "You could see the club was just going downhill and it was sad to see. "We had players like David Dunn who is Blackburn through and through and had seen the club at its best and now he was seeing it at its worst. "In terms of my own form though, I did well. "I was the top scorer in the first two seasons after I moved there and then I got promoted to the senior training centre which is a different complex where the first team train. "I was there for two years and was a regular at reserve team level."

Maclaren was also impressing in green and gold, debuting for the Under-19s in last year's AFC Championship Qualifiers and bagging a memorable hat-trick against Indonesia. He then caught the eye again more recently, starring alongside Danny De Silva and scoring a fine goal in Australia's final group game at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

"The first game against Colombia was a very good performance from the boys," he said, "but I think we took the foot off the pedal a bit in the second game and we should really have won that one. "We then had to win the Turkey game and it was disappointing that they managed to score straight after my goal because I thought if they hadn't scored then, we'd have got the three points and gone on to the next stage. "With me being one of the older boys in the Young Socceroos," he said, "I saw Danny (De Silva) come in as a young lad and kind of took him under my wing a little bit. "I spoke to him a lot and tried to give him some confidence. "He's a good lad and a very good player so hopefully when he gets back training and playing, we can link up well."

And the man who can operate equally effectively anywhere in the final third is hoping to develop a similar understanding with the rest of his new team-mates during the upcoming tour of South Africa.

"It's a great chance to really bond with the boys in the squad that I don't know," he said. "I think Africa is the only continent that I haven't travelled to in the last six months, so I'm really looking forward to it."

Gareth Morgan