Meet the striker who could be the answer to Socceroos' goalscoring woes

Teenage Australian striker John Iredale is gunning to make his Eredivisie debut this season and then break into the Socceroos’ set-up.

Iredale swapped Sydney FC for Dutch club SC Heerenveen in August.

The centre forward, 18, starred for the outfit’s Under-19s and reserve team last season, bagging 19 goals and one assist in just 29 matches.

Now Iredale has been training with the club’s first-team and scored twice for them earlier this month in a big 12-0 pre-season victory over amateur side SC Stiens. The striker is targeting a senior debut in Holland in the season ahead.

“That’s my main goal, to be with the first-team as much as I can and to make my debut,” Iredale told The World Game.

“And then to get as much minutes as I can in the Eredivisie. There’s a new coach, it was good to give him a good first impression. We had a good chat just before they went off to camp. 

“He has me in his plans… basically it’s keep working hard and be ready. It’s definitely good to know he’s thinking of how to use me this season. It helps me to be able to play, not worrying about the fact whether he’s thinking of going to use me.”

Iredale has already represented at Australia at Under-20 level last year and has set his sights on winning a senior call-up in the near future.

With Tim Cahill’s retirement and Andrew Nabbout's injury, the national team’s striking stocks are thin.

“My goal has always been to play for the Socceroos so each little step like that [playing for the Young Socceroos] is big,” he said.

“My goal is to break into the national team, – its always nice to see they’re looking at younger players and hopefully I can do enough to be seen.

“In the World Cup I think we put in a lot of effort and worked as a team well but we just fell short in some areas. It would have been nice to see a few more goals in this World Cup.”

Iredale made two first-team appearances for Sydney FC in pre-season in 2017 before joining SC Heerenveen, including 25 minutes off the bench against Arsenal.

He said he has long dreamt of playing overseas, but admits he found opportunities at the Sky Blues hard.

“I’ve always wanted to play in Europe,” Iredale said.

“But it’s tough to find the right time. This was - I would love to still be at Sydney FC - but this was an opportunity that you can’t turn down.

“I knew it would be really good training at Sydney FC, it was tough to see me being able to play over Bobo and Simon and all of them in the A-League squad.

“You’d like to see some more opportunities but then they’re always going to play their better players at the start I guess.”

Iredale, who grew up in Sydney’s north-west amongst a football-mad family, started his career off with Spirit FC before joining Blacktown City. He spent time with Football NSW’s elite program before signing for the Sky Blues.

The 18-year-old feels his transition from his hometown to the rigorous of Dutch football has been an enjoyable one.

“I’ve adapted to a lot of different changes and learnt a lot of new things so far,” he said.

“It’s been a really good experience. I was mainly with the Under-19s and the reserves [last season]. I was getting used to what the club wanted from me, I trained a few times with the first-team as well, which was nice.

“I felt like I added a lot of new aspects to my game that I didn’t have before. It’s been really positive.

“I’ve always been a striker growing up. I love the feeling of scoring and then being able to see your teammates’ reactions.

“Playing football, you do everything to get goals to win and when all the hard work from the team pays off with a goal it’s really nice to see.”

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4 min read
Published 26 July 2018 at 5:52pm
By John Davidson