When Aiden O’Neill pull on an Australia Under-23 jersey it’s not only about the pride of representing his country, it’s also a family affair.
O’Neill and the rest of Gary van Egmond’s 24-player squad will be joining up for a pair of friendly matches against New Zealand Under-23s, on Friday in Wollongong and next Tuesday in Campbelltown.
The contests serve as a chance for the promising young Aussies to gel ahead of their 2020 Olympic Games qualifying tournament, the AFC Under-23 Championships, in Thailand in January.
Brisbane Roar midfielder O’Neill feels great pride at wearing the green and gold, but the games in New South Wales are also a rare opportunity for him to run out in front of all of his family and friends.
“I’ve actually got a lot of family in Sydney,” said O’Neill. “They’ll be coming along to watch the game.”
“It’s a good opportunity for people to come out and watch the Australia Under-23s.”
The 21-year-old, who is on loan from Premier League Burnley, added: “When Australia comes calling, it’s a privilege to play for your country.
“There’s nothing better than putting on the Australian jersey and representing your country and your family proudly.”
“I’m just excited to be getting back in with the boys and working towards our goal which is qualifying for the Olympics.”