Waddingham relishing chance to represent country for first time

When your teammates bestow you with the sobriquet ‘Erling’ you know you must be doing something right.

At just 18, Subway Young Socceroos striker Thomas Waddingham is making all the right moves at Brisbane Roar - his four Australia Cup goals for the beaten finalists proof positive of his soaring potential.

The kid from Cairns signed a scholarship deal with Brisbane in January, and added to his resume with the opening goal as the Roar took it to Sydney in last Saturday’s decider before finally succumbing 3-1.

There followed a mad dash to Spain for the Marbella Week of Football tournament, where Trevor Morgan’s Young Socceroos upset thoroughbreds France on penalties in their opener on Friday night after the scores were locked 1-1 at full time.

Waddingham sat out the clash with an ankle niggle, but the player already attracting interest from overseas scouts will be fit for Australia’s duel against the Netherlands on Saturday night.

With Brisbane’s bid to sign former Socceroo Bernie Ibini falling through, Waddingham will be Roar boss Ross Aloisi’s main strike weapon this season.

And he’ll be out to cement his emerging reputation as one of the nation’s most lethal young finishers in Marbella against quality international opposition.

“With Ross coming in at the Roar he’s believed in me and it’s been pretty good lately,” Waddingham explained. “I’ve always been a decent finisher but it’s something I’m working on continuously and trying to improve on.

“Ross is really good with the younger players, and always willing to give them an opportunity.

“For me, the signs this season for the club are looking promising - certainly far better than the last couple of seasons and that gives us a lot of hope.

“The culture of the team is very good.”

Waddingham’s nickname came courtesy of Roar colleagues Tom Aldred and John O’Shea, battle hardened veterans of the English game.

“That’s what they usually call me at training,” he said with a smile. “It’s not a bad thing.

“Erling Haaland is known for being pretty clinical around the box and that’s what I try to be. Obviously nothing like him but hopefully get somewhere near there (in the future).

“I’m a Liverpool fan but Haaland is a player I watch a lot and really admire.”

This is Waddingham’s first taste of international football, and with scouts aplenty on the ground in the Spanish coastal retreat, an opportunity beckons to make his name resonate beyond Australia’s shores.

“It’s a great chance to represent my country - getting the call was a bit of a surprise but it’s always been a goal and something I was working towards,” he added.

Having previously trialled at League One Blackpool, Waddingham has his sights set on ultimately testing himself in Europe.

“Down the track playing in Europe is the end goal but for now it’s really all about trying to do well in the A-League and trying to build myself up as a footballer,” he said.

Young Socceroos
The Subway Young Socceroos celebrate against France at the Marbella Week of Football. Photo Credit: Sergio Lopez.


Australia 1 (5) France 1 (2)
Thursday, 12 October
Marbella Football Centre, Marbella
Kick-off: 2.00pm (local) / 11.00pm AEDT

Australia v The Netherlands
Saturday, 14 October
Marbella Football Centre, Marbella
Kick-off: 7.00pm (local) / 4.00am AEDT (Sunday, 15 October)

Australia v Denmark
Tuesday, 17 October
La Quinta Football Centre, Marbella
Kick-off: 2.30pm (local) / 11.30pm AEDT