As the youngest Glory player to start all three of Perth Hyundai A-League games this season, Brandon Wilson is relishing his return home to WA after three years in England.
The 19-year-old midfielder has been a permanent fixture in Kenny Lowe’s starting XI so far in Hyundai A-League 2016/17, linking up with Glory captain Rostyn Griffiths to anchor Perth’s midfield in a fluid 4-4-2 formation.
The next youngest player to start every Glory match – Josh Risdon – is approximately four-and-a-half years older than Wilson, with the latter younger than all but two in Perth’s senior squad.
While Wilson was disappointed with his display against Melbourne City last week – the teenager gave the ball away for the opposition’s second goal just before being taken off – he feels totally vindicated for leaving Premier League club Burnley in search of game time.
“Oh, big time,” Wilson told Goal Australia.
“I mean I’ve just come and worked hard.
“Obviously a bit surprised [to have started every match so far] – I think everyone is really – but just keep working hard and hopefully can redeem myself from my last performance.”
Perth are undefeated after three rounds with two wins and a draw and sit second in the Hyundai A-League table.
Wilson has been critical to their strong start with the best passing accuracy (89.1%) and the best tackle success rate (75%) of Glory’s starting midfield quartet.
The Botswana-born youngster is one of Glory’s legion of locally produced players lured back to Western Australia by Lowe.
Wilson joined in July having been at Burnley since 2013 where he never made his senior debut, although he did get a taste for first-team football on loan at Stockport County earlier this year.
“Kenny Lowe was a big thing for me,” he said.
“He’s a big admirer of mine, I’d say, and he was a coach of mine when I was a kid, and he basically convinced me to come back.”
Another of Wilson’s admirers is Griffiths, who argued post-City that the youngster’s mistake for Fernando Brandan’s goal should be forgotten.
“That’s nothing for me,” Glory’s skipper said.
“His overall performance in the game was so mature for a person of his age. He’s fought his way into the team and, for me, he’s deserved it.”
Griffiths reckons Wilson’s maturity has been the key reason he has earned a starting berth ahead of older team-mates.
Wilson was thrilled with Glory’s win over City that has forced the A-League to sit up and take notice of Lowe’s troops.
“Obviously everyone was buzzing off Sydney [FC] and Melbourne City over the last two performances but I think now people are going to realise we’re here, we’re contenders and we’re not messing about this year,” he said.
Perth’s next match is away to Brisbane Roar on Sunday.