Free-scoring Irvine aiming to be an Aussie Lampard

Australia midfielder Jackson Irvine wants to become a Frank Lampard clone as he hunts the goals which could well save Burton Albion from an instant return to England's League One.

Jackson Irvine

Jackson Irvine in action for Burton Albion Source: Getty Images

The seven-cap 23-year-old has become the most prolific of any Australian export anywhere in the world this season, with six goals in 17 appearances for newly promoted Championship side Burton.

After a sluggish six goals in 106 games cutting his teeth in the Scottish Premiership, Irvine is suddenly channeling his inner Lampard - the former England and Chelsea star notched 300-plus goals during his 20-year career.

"He's among the best ever at scoring from midfield and he's somebody I have watched for many years and tried to learn from," said the former Celtic, Kilmarnock and Ross County man.

"His record is terrifying and most strikers can only dream about that sort of goal output.

"He's someone I can take inspiration from ... he's an absolute legend of a player who was the best at what he did.

"He's scored a goal nearly every two games during his career, which is extraordinary.

"If this is the role I am going to be playing, then he's the player you'd most like to be."

Irvine could shoot on to the radar of Premier League clubs should his scoring streak continue.

It's a career destination he has dreamed of but is not dwelling on.

"Every player has the drive to progress to the highest level possible and if that opportunity ever came it's one I'd have to take," he said.

"They are the moves you strive for and you'd have to back yourself to go there and give it a try.

"It's a long way away for me just now but of course every kid who grows up watching the EPL, as I did, dreams of playing in the competition one day."

With Burton just a point off the drop zone heading into this weekend's clash against bottom club Rotherham, Irvine's top priority is to help them stay up.

"I feel we have the quality to achieve that," he said. "And that's where my main focus lies at the minute."

His goals, though, may be vital.

"The midfield run into the box is becoming a bit of a trademark and it's probably something opposing teams will become aware of and I will need to make adjustments and find new ways to score goals," he said.

"I am prepared to take that pressure ... even over the last few weeks I feel my performances have been good but it's funny how they're highlighted when you score.

"I've been given a license to break into the box ... then it's about showing the composure in front of goal.

"I am definitely improving but it's not easy and you can see why the strikers get the big bucks because scoring goals is the hardest thing to do in football. I have probably found something within me this season even I didn't know was there.

"But fortunately this season I have found myself in a few good positions and have been able to stick a few away.

"My goals have headers, volleys, left foot, right foot ... it's good to know you can score different types of goals."

Asked if he now merited a regular start for Australia, the one-time defender for both club and country at youth level replied: "When it comes to international football and you see the strength of our midfield then you realize it's not easy.

"The way we are set up to play I am still learning that role within the Socceroos framework ... it's quite different to my club football.

"But I am chipping away and it's all about wanting to contribute and hopefully one day that will lead to me contributing as a starting player."

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
4 min read
Published 30 November 2016 at 6:54pm
By Dave Lewis