A FRINGE Socceroo earns rave reviews, a big endorsement for Trent Sainsbury and Jackson Irvine dodges relegation.
That and more in Roo Radar!
MACLAREN EARNS RAVE REVIEWS, SHINES IN SCOTLAND
FRESH off scoring the opening goal in Hibernian’s 2-1 win over Celtic, Jamie Maclaren says he wants to stay at the Scottish club.
Maclaren has flourished in Scotland since moving there on loan from German club SV Darmstadt, and has now scored against Celtic, Rangers and Hearts.
The fringe Socceroo said while he would like to stay at the club, his future was largely dependent on what happened with his parent club — though he did have a relegation clause in his Darmstadt contract.
“This could be the biggest few months of my career,” Maclaren said after the game.
“There are four games left and that’s all I’m contracted to Hibs for. That’s all I can think about.
“It might come down to what happens to Darmstadt in Germany. If they’re relegated a clause kicks in but that’s out of my control.
“I have to worry about myself. If my performances are good, good things will happen.”
The 24-year-old revealed he had almost missed the game through illness.
“I didn’t travel with the boys to the team hotel because I had a stomach bug,” he said.
“But I was in touch with the staff telling them ‘Don’t rule me out’. I really wanted to play in this game.
“I woke up this morning and went for a walk. I was honest with the manager before the game. He didn’t want me to let myself or my team-mates down.
“I told him I’d give him everything for as long as I could. He gave me trust and I gave it back.
“I felt a little bit better by kick-off but I still had no energy from the start. When I scored the adrenalin came but I had nothing in the tank by 70 minutes.
“But these are the games I want to be involved in. It’s important to have a manager who believes in you. Neil does with me.”
“Neil (Lennon) started with two main strikers in Florian Kamberi and Jamie Maclaren and both have been a revelation since signing in January,” McManus wrote.
“Kamberi has actually yet to play on a losing side as a Hibs player. That shows the form the Leith men have been in.
“He has given Neil Lennon’s team a different dimension up front as he holds the ball up superbly and lets Maclaren run the channels to play off him.
“He has been a brilliant find by the scouting team at Easter Road.”
Maclaren said he would like to keep the partnership going.
“I’d love to keep the partnership with Flo going,” he said.
“I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly here since my first game at Hibs. The two of us have hit it off.”
ROOS STAR’S BIG ENDORSEMENT FROM NEW CLUB
IT’S not often you see players named captain just weeks into starting at a new club.
But that’s exactly what’s happened to Socceroos star Trent Sainsbury.
When he walked out for his fourth game with Swiss side Grasshoppers, Sainsbury was sporting a fresh, new accessory — the captain’s armband.
Sainsbury has also enjoyed a different position during his time in the Swiss Super League.
Having predominantly played as a centre-back for both club and country, Sainsbury has spent time as a defensive midfielder for Grasshoppers.
But his first four games for the club yielded just one draw and three losses.
In his fifth appearance, Sainsbury finally got a breakthrough, with Grasshoppers beating FC Lugano 4-3.
It was a crucial win, as it gave Grasshoppers a four-point buffer on bottom team Lausanne, elevating them to seventh place in the 10-team league.
The bottom team in the Swiss Super League gets relegated.
KEY ROO DODGES RELEGATION
Saturday proved to be a great day for Jackson Irvine, whose Hull City secured Championship safety with a 5-5 draw with Bristol City.
The Tigers fought back from 3-1 down, then again at 4-2 down, to secure a point.
Irvine started the game and recorded an assist but was substituted with Hull trailing 3-2.
“Played a key role in (Harry) Wilson’s first when linking up play nicely but should have done better when failing to block (Marlon) Pack’s strike to make it 1-1,” he wrote.
“Not the greatest impact overall and replaced just after the hour.”
Elsewhere in the Championship, Massimo Luongo’s QPR fell 2-1 to Brentford.
The Rangers midfield was well held, but Luongo still earned strong reviews for his performance.
“Like the rest of the Rangers midfield, Luongo often found himself stifled, although he was involved in Idrissa Sylla’s goal and almost scored with a deflected shot that was pushed over by Bentley,” Ben Kosky wrote.
“On the receiving end of a nasty blow midway through the first half,” wrote Phil Spencer.
“Did well to squeeze the ball into the path of Idrissa Sylla for QPR’s opener.
“Almost got a goal of his own in the second half as he let fly from the edge of the area.”
JEDINAK EARNS MORE RAVE REVIEWS
MILE Jedinak’s move to centre-back continues to pay dividends for Aston Villa.
The Socceroos skipper was rock solid once more as his side thumped Ipswich 4-0.
“What a fine job Mile Jedinak has done since he was introduced into the heart of defence in John Terry’s absence,” Wollaston wrote.
“The Australian was solid once again, winning everything in the air, and generally limiting the threat of the Ipswich attack.
“Terry was at Portman Road and warmed down with the coaching staff at the end of the game. He’s not far away from a return but with Jedinak in such good form, there’s no need to rush him back.”
Wollaston graded Jedinak’s performance a 7.5/10.
“Looks so comfortable at centre-back now,” he wrote.
“Never loses out in the air and made up for his lack of pace with clever decision-making and experienced play.”
ROOS RETURN TO SCORING, CUP WINNING FORM
GOALKEEPER Brad Jones added another feather to his cap, claiming the Dutch Cup with Feyenoord.
Jones kept a clean sheet as his side defeated AZ Alkmaar 3-0.
Elsewhere, Mat Leckie scored in Hertha Berlin’s 3-0 win over Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, Milos Degenek play 90 minutes and scored as Ange Postecoglou’s Yokohama F. Marinos played out a 4-4 draw with Shonan Bellmare in the J1 League.
MYSTERY ROOS TARGET OPENS UP
POTENTIAL Socceroo Fran Karačić says he sees himself as a player who can feature in the world’s best leagues.
Karačić, who plays for NK Lokomotiva, recently became eligible for the Socceroos when he secured his Australian passport.
The 20-year-old has never been to Australia, but his father was born there.
“England have a lot of teams in Europe and I like the way they play in Spain.”
The right-back has yet to be called up by either Australia or Croatia, but is still eligible to play at youth level for the latter.
“They’ve … been in touch but I haven’t received a call-up for the national team,” he said.
“I still have time to play for the under 21s because I turned 20 only three months ago.”