Exciting times ahead for ‘buzzing’ Brandon


Fresh from helping Australia to qualify for next year’s U-23 AFC Championship in Thailand, Brandon Wilson was understandably beaming as he walked through the lively corridors at HBF Park before last Saturday’s sell-out game against Victory.

Typically deployed in central midfield for Glory, Wilson revelled in a defensive role with the Young Socceroos as they came away from Cambodia undefeated in their three qualifiers.

One of three captains named by Head Coach Graham Arnold, he got himself on the scoresheet with a well-taken header just before half-time in the 6-0 win over the host nation.

“I said to myself before the trip that I have to get at least one goal in the qualifiers,” he recounted.

“The ‘keeper cleaned me up, but I was able to get my head on it first from the corner and when it hit the back of the net I was absolutely buzzing.

“For me that moment was huge. I love representing my country; it’s one of the greatest honours and to score was massive. As you could probably tell by my celebration, it was a bit of relief to be honest.”

While clearly delighted with his personal achievement, Wilson was quick to focus upon the camaraderie within the squad which he felt was reflected in their on-field performances.

“We’ve had a few camps together before, but I think this trip really brought everyone together,” he said.

“We’re all a very tight knit bunch and I think our closeness really showed on the pitch with the results we produced.”

Those results were indeed impressive; consecutive 6-0 wins over Cambodia and Chinese Taipei followed by a hard-fought, 2-2 draw with a highly-fancied South Korean outfit to seal qualification.

“We knew we had a point to prove and I think we really did that,” he said.

“Two big wins and a draw against one of the top teams in Asia after only playing three times together beforehand is great.”

The U-23s have the unique privilege of sharing the same primary coaching staff as the Socceroos, with Graham Arnold and former Manchester United Assistant Rene Meulensteen at the helm.

And while this may be perceived as a rather peculiar arrangement by some onlookers, the 22-year-old insisted that it’s hugely beneficial for the entire squad.

“Having them there presents a huge opportunity for everyone each time we’re on camp,” he explained.

“It’s an honour to work under Arny and Rene. They’re top coaches who have put trust in myself and the squad. Everyone sees the pathway to the Socceroos clearly with them being with us. We see that it’s possible to make it into the senior setup.

“You’ve just got to go in and learn as much as possible around coaches of that calibre. They’ve experienced football at the highest level; Rene has worked alongside Sir Alex Ferguson at United and coached Fulham in the Premier League, while we’ve all seen first-hand what Arny has achieved in the A-League.”

Wilson and the rest of the squad, which includes fellow-Glory midfielder Jake Brimmer, certainly aren’t resting on their laurels, with the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan looking as their next major target.

“We’ve got to take this momentum and make the Olympics to show that we are a quality age group capable of making that step up to the next level on the global stage,” he said.

“The dream is to get into the senior setup. Just getting involved in a camp with the Socceroos is what I’m working towards, but first and foremost I’ve got to focus on getting more game-time for Glory in the business end of the season with our finals campaign coming up.”

With his club six points clear atop the A-League ladder four games out from the end of the regular season and the Young Socceroos qualifying for the U23 AFC Championship, these truly are exciting times for Brandon Wilson.