O’Neill dreams of Socceroos call-up

O’Neill dreams of Socceroos call-up

Posted on October 21, 2016 in 'News'

It’s not what drives him the most, but former ECU Joondalup junior and Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O’Neill admits a desire for an Australia call-up has crept into his thinking over the past month.

Less than two years ago, a Socceroos call-up would have seemed a mile away for WA-born O’Neill, this after he was over looked for game time at Perth Glory. (Photo – Brandon with his father Myles at the ECU Clubhouse) A stand-out in the Glory’s Youth side, all he could manage in the first team was less 13 A-League appearances in three years, which is hardly the level of exposure necessary for a talented young player to develop, let alone alert Coach Ange Postecoglou.

But they say two-years is a long time in football, so as we skip forward to the present, and O’Neill defensive midfield form at the Sky Blues has been outstanding. He has played 21 A-League games, including 16 in the starting eleven, and last week he scored a stunning free kick in front of over 62,000 supporters in the Sydney Derby against Western Sydney Wanderers, his first in the competition.  O’Neill’s form was a rare positive in the team’s disappointing domestic 2015-16 season, his displays in February earning him selection for the Olyroos’ failed Olympic qualifying campaign.

The 22-year-old is now a pivotal players in a rejuvenated Sky Blues side which are aiming high for long-awaited silverware. His Man of the Match performance against the Wanderers came at a perfect time for the former Jacks product, and came a week after Postecoglou revealed he’s on the lookout for the next young A-League stars to make a case for Socceroos selection, and the midfielder is doing all he can to improve his game, and he admits a desire to step up to the senior national set-up.

“It’s always a goal that’s in the back of your mind,” he said. “First and foremost, I need to continue to improve at Sydney FC and play well. Secondly, we need a team success – we need trophies this year. But thirdly, if I’m playing well and the team is doing well, yeah I’ll always stick my hand up.” O’Neill says there’s plenty of room for improvement over the next few years and playing alongside fringe Socceroo Josh Brillante and Serbian import Milos Dimitrijevic is a bonus. “On the field we’ve clicked straight away,” he said. “Between us three it will be really enjoyable in the midfield this season, because we’re all ball players and hard workers as well.” O’Neill will be looking for a similar result to last week when they host Central Coast Mariners on Saturday at Allianz Stadium.