He was born in Africa and spent much of his childhood in the UK. But inspired by the exploits of a couple of Caltex Socceroo stars, playing for Australia was always first choice for Brandon Wilson.
And now the Perth Glory midfielder is a step closer to realising his dream after he was part of Josep Gombau’s first Australian U-23 training camp on the Central Coast last week.
The 20-year-old was one of 26 of the best young players in the Hyundai A-League to be put through their paces by Gombau ahead of July’s qualifiers for next year’s AFC U23 Asian Cup in China.
“It was a very proud moment for me to be called up,” Wilson told www.footballaustralia.com.au.
“Being in the camp is huge. The lads really need time to gel together as a team.
“That’s a massive part if you want to play well. To get the philosophy down, to get the way [Gombau] wants us to play and start working as a team on those aspects and hopefully bring it to the [qualifiers].”
Wilson has earned his spot among the Australian U-23 squad courtesy of his consistent form in the Hyundai A-League with Glory in the 2016/17 Season.
He’s made 15 appearances for Kenny Lowe’s side, including 11 starts, and shown exceptional maturity and quality for his age.
And it’s been some journey to get where Wilson is today. Born in Botswana, his family moved to the UK when he was three before relocating to Australia at the age of 10 to attend school.
He started his playing days in Perth at renowned development club ECU Joondalup, spending four years there before moving on to the NTC program and working under Lowe.
But at the age of 16 he went back to England, joining Burnley where he stayed for three years before coming back to Perth and joining Glory.
Speaking of his time with the Clarets, Wilson said: “Burnley was a good experience for me, grew up a lot over there.
“I was actually living with Aiden [O’Neill]. He came to the club a year after me.
“He’s always been a good player as well. He’s quite a similar player to me, a bit of a box-to-box midfielder.
“It’s no surprise to see him doing so well, he’s a real class player and a real good guy.”
Wlson said his desire to play for Australia came as he grew up watching the likes of Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell strut their stuff in the green and gold as well as Leeds United in the EPL.
“I always wanted to play for Australia since I moved here.
“Watching Kewell and Viduka back in the day, they were massive idols of mine, just the way they played scoring goals.
“I aspired as a kid to play for the national team…and it was always Australia, I never wanted to play for the [England],” Wilson said.
Cahill, Goodwin, Grant named in Caltex Socceroos squad for Lebanon clash
Caltex Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold today named a 24-player squad for his side’s international friendly against Lebanon on Tuesday evening, presenting opportunities for numerous players including some based in the Hyundai A-League. Sydney FC’s Rhyan Grant and Adelaide U
The numbers behind Australia's draw with Korea Republic
Australia’s dominance against Korea Republic was on full display when taking even the briefest of glances at the stats sheet. The Caltex Socceroos had 22 shots on goal to Korea Republic’s four but needed stoppage time to produce an equaliser through Massimo Luongo in Saturday
Risdon loving Arnold's new style that 'suits me very well'
Australia defender Josh Risdon said he is thriving in Graham Arnold’s new-look style after another impressive performance in green and gold. The Western Sydney Wanderers right back was one of Australia’s best performers in an exciting 1-1 friendly draw with Korea Republic in B
'Enormous amount of progress' delights Caltex Socceroos star
Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Maty Ryan said he was greatly encouraged by what he saw in Saturday evening’s 1-1 friendly draw with Korea Republic. Graham Arnold’s side controlled the contest but left it late, scoring a stoppage-time equaliser through Massimo Luongo at Suncorp St