Maclaren on goal trail for Glory

THERE is a steely resolve in his voice when he tells you he thinks his team can go all the way next season.

THERE is a steely resolve in his voice when he tells you he thinks his team can go all the way next season.

Perth Glory-s new young gun speaks quietly but confidently and to great effect.

“We have had one brief meeting where we talked about this season and we believe we have a good mix of young and experienced players and we think we can go as far as anyone in the league,” said Jamie Maclaren.

The 20-year old striker from Sunbury in Victoria has returned to his native land after four years at Blackburn Rovers and his recent haul of six goals in five pre-season games strikes an ominous note for opposition defenders.

Maclaren scored twice as his team comfortably accounted for Alessandro Del Pierro-s Sydney 3-0 in a trial match last weekend.

“I believe I can score 10 plus this season and I-ve been on form lately.

“I felt I-d been playing well but not finding the net but that-s changed in the past few games. I-m confident, I-m enjoying my football again and I want to keep scoring.”

The former Victorian junior state representative, VIS scholarship holder and Green Gully scoring machine is relishing his role in the game plan of Glory coach Alistair Edwards.

“I-m playing as a No 9 right now but I-ve also played as a No 10. It doesn-t really bother me. Anywhere around putting the ball in the back of the net and I-m happy.”

Glory-s attack-minded playing style suits Maclaren who has quickly assimilated to his new surroundings.

“We like to play out from the back and we have good enough defenders who can play with their feet.

“We try to keep the ball and be patient with it.

“We get the ball out wide to our wingers and they come inside and do their thing and we-ve been creating 10 or more chances every game which is a big positive for us.”

Maclaren is about to wind up the longest pre-season of his career but every minute of Glory-s trek through South Africa and Malaysia and back to Western Australia has been worth it.

“In England the pre-season is a lot shorter and there-s a lot crammed into six weeks.

“The A-League pre-season goes for about three months and that can be very good because you get to know your teammates more.

“We-ve been away and played something like 10 games already which in a pre-season is a lot but it-s been one of the best pre-seasons I-ve ever had.

“After a fantastic trip to South Africa playing three super big clubs we went to Malaysia and played against Alistair-s old team Johor (Darul Takzim) in front of 30,000 screaming fans. The atmosphere was mental.”

Glory was able to fend off some prestigious suitors in the race for Maclaren-s signature.

He impressed in a trial game for Norwich near the end of the last English season and the EPL outfit invited him back.

Championship clubs Burnley and Derby County also were keen to sign him as were Glory opponents Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix but Edwards held all the aces.

“Alistair played a really big part in my choice. He used to visit me at Blackburn and we have a really good relationship so when he phoned me and wanted me to sign Glory definitely was number one on my preferences list.”

Add to that the fact that two other Glory recruits are Edwards- sons, Cameron and Ryan, the latter being Maclaren-s best friend, then the other pursuers of the Young Socceroo striker really weren-t in the race.

“I-ve known Ryan for about six years and played against him in the UK that many times plus we-ve been with the Young Socceroos as well and become good friends.”

Maclaren is on a three-year deal at Glory while Ryan Edwards is on a season-long loan from Reading.

“There-s everything a professional footballer needs over here, a really good set-up with a great facility and a good gym,” said Maclaren.

He stays in a three-bedroom house which comes in handy when the other members of the Maclaren clan leave their Sunbury home to fly to WA.

“I-m loving it. I can phone my family anytime and mum was over here last week. It-s great to be back in Australia”.

And it-s great to see this Socceroo in waiting on the goal trail for Glory whose fans must be relishing the prospect of seeing their exciting new frontman in A-League action.