O'Neill disappointed with no national team call-up

Burnley FC’s teenage midfielder Aiden O’Neill says he has had no contact from Socceroos management but he would love to wear the green and gold one day and represent his country.

Bolton Wanderers v Burnley - Pre-Season Friendly

Aiden O'Neill of Burnley Source: Getty Images Europe

O’Neill made his English Premier League debut last year for the Clarets at the age of just 18.

He has never represented Australia at any level, junior or senior, but breaking into the national team set-up remains one of his goals.

“I would love to,” O’Neill said.

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“Australia is where I was born. As I know there has been no approach from Australia as yet. I was a little disappointed to not be invited to the Under-20s and I have a mate over here who has been selected for the Under-23s, so I know I haven't been chosen in that squad.”

O’Neill is originally from Queensland and joined Burnley in 2014. He is a product of Brisbane Athletic and the Zee Pro Soccer academy.

The central midfielder has largely flown under the radar in his own homeland despite being fast-tracked into Burnley’s first-team.

In the 2016-2017 season he has made three appearances in the Premier League and two in the EFL Cup.

Most recently O’Neill was on the bench for league fixtures against Manchester City and Sunderland in the past three weeks.

With Australia’s central midfield stacked with many options, from Mile Jedinak and Mark Milligan to Aaron Mooy and Massimo Luongo among others, the Queenslander has a big task on his hands earning a spot with the Socceroos.

However O’Neill, who is contracted to the Clarets until the end of June 2019, has time on his side. He doesn’t turn 19 until July 4 this year.

Australia is next in action in March for its World Cup qualifier with Iraq. O’Neill said it would be a dream to be part of the World Cup next year, if the Socceroos qualift.

“I would love to be involved but it will be hard,” O’Neill admits.

“Australia has some quality players there now and coming through the younger ages. Do I think I'm good enough? That's up to the selectors and coaches.”




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2 min read
Published 19 January 2017 at 12:50pm
By John Davidson
Source: SBS