Maclaren relishing fresh start at hometown club
Melbourne City and Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren is enjoying life back in Australia after returning from a stint in Europe during the January transfer window.
The 25-year old was recently a part of the AFC Asian Cup squad for Australia and started in all three group stage games which included his maiden goal at international level against Palestine, and was also a part of the two knockout clashes with Uzbekistan and UAE.
His return to the Hyundai A-League in his home town is a huge boost for City despite the side struggling for form post-Christmas, with the striker scoring three goals in as many starts.
“It’s been a long time coming and it’s good to be back around friends and family,” he told Macquarie Sports Radio Breakfast.
“When you’re producing goals and happy off the field that’s always good and I feel like I’m in a really good place at the moment both on and off the field – it’s a short career and you’ve got to try and make the most of it.”
City currently sit in 5th position on the Hyundai A-League ladder and are two points behind Adelaide United and one point clear of Wellington Phoenix in what is a very tight bottom-half of the competition’s top six.
They will need a result this weekend to remain ahead of the Phoenix and while it will be a tough challenge against leaders Perth Glory at AAMI Park, Maclaren says he is looking forward to the clash against the benchmark side of the 2018/19 season.
“They’ve done fantastic this year and are playing really well under Tony Popovic and are sitting top of the league, but these are the sort of games you want to play in,” he said.
“You always want to play against the best and that’s certainly Perth this year and for us it’s all about getting that win because I know that once we do the confidence will lift throughout the whole club because as we know everything in football changes so quickly and one win will change that for us.
The side have been winless since their 4-3 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers over a month ago but the belief within the playing group remains high heading into the business end of the season where they will most likely find themselves in the finals.
While Maclaren is focused on his role at Melbourne City for the next three seasons, he admits that there is always going to be interest overseas but wants to help the club lift some silverware in his time there.
“There’s always interest from clubs overseas but there’s a reason why I signed a long-term deal here at City and that’s to come here and remind people of the player that I am,” he said.
“For me it’s not just about going back overseas because it’s about winning something here in Melbourne in my home town for my friends and family, and that’s certainly the ambition that this club has as well.”
Melbourne City take on the high-flying Perth Glory this Sunday at 5pm at AAMI Park, before a clash with 2nd-placed Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval a fortnight later.
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