Bonetig loving life at Celtic as he prepares for Marbella Week of Football

When Celtic come calling, players tend to listen - especially ambitious youngsters from the other side of the world wowed by the sheer magnitude of Scottish football’s most iconic club.

Ex-Western Sydney Wanderers rookie Liam Bonetig was no exception, jumping at the chance to ink a three-year contract last month before being immediately thrust into B team action against the likes of Lazio, Feyenoord and West Ham.

The 18-year-old centre back bounced into Subway Young Socceroos Spanish camp on Monday imbued with that Parkhead buoyancy, as they prepare for the Marbella Week of Football and testing tussles against France, on Thursday, followed by the Netherlands on Saturday and Denmark three days later.

Bonetig has already impressed Hoops Academy coaches Stephen McManus and Darren O’Dea, and has brushed shoulders with head coach Brendan Rodgers at the club which thrived under Ange Postecoglou and includes in its senior ranks Socceroo Marco Tilio, and its coaching staff Antipodeans Harry Kewell and Stuart McLaren.

Aaron Mooy also left a lasting impression before his shock retirement before the start of the season.

“Every time I put on the jersey there’s just that different feeling - I always dreamed of coming across to Europe and playing in a club size of Celtic,” said Bonetig.

“When Celtic stepped in I put all my focus on going there - I put everything else to one side. It was such a surreal opportunity to have interest from such a huge club.

“The coaches and the boss have been really welcoming - Brendan Rodgers explained while I was in initially on trial how he backs and supports young players.

“That was important for me to go over there and have that trust in him.”

Bonetig has already trained with the senior team, adding: “Of course it will take time to adapt to the speed at physicality (at that level) but the aim is of course to push towards breaking into senior squad.

“There are so many Aussies in Scotland and I think Ange doing so well in his time with Celtic has played a part in that.”

Seen by many as a future Socceroo, Bonetig is relishing the looming trilogy of international clashes.

“To play against top opposition is just what we need and it’ll be a massive test for all of us,” he added.

“Then off the back of this when I return to Scotland we face Atletico Madrid (U-19s in the UEFA Youth League).”

The journey has just begun, and Bonetig isn’t short of role models for either club or country.