Awer Mabil eyes overseas and Socceroos

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When Adelaide United’s Awer Mabil graces the Coopers Stadium wing – normally about 60 minutes into a match – the impassioned Adelaide locals bellow.

They bellow because their most explosive speedster is coming on to wreak havoc with his raw pace and deft touches, but they also bellow because Australia’s football future is being played in front of their very eyes. It’s very good theatre, indeed.

Image provided by Adelaide United.

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So good, in fact, that at just 21 the youngster has attracted the glances of Dutch heavyweights Ajax, where he trialled briefly during the A-League’s Asian Cup intermission, and while the trial only lasted a few days, it gave Mabil a taste of what the future could hold.

Speaking exclusively to The Football Sack, Mabil says it’s a taste he wants to savour.

“I wasn’t there for long, I was only there for three nights or four nights; I don’t think that’s long enough for a good trial, but I couldn’t turn down Ajax as they’re one of the biggest clubs,” Mabil said.

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“I think it’s more for the experience, to show what I’ve got for the three days or four days that I had there.

“It was a great experience for me personally, and it makes me want to go to Europe. I just want to improve in [the A-League] and then go over.”

Not one to be without a good plan, Mabil says that the two years remaining on his Adelaide United contract are vital to his chances of moving north.

“Personally, I need to establish myself in the league here if I want to have any chance of playing over there,” he said.

“I need to make a name for myself in the A-League, and next year will be very crucial to me and I’ve got to work yard.

“Hopefully I do what I set myself to do, which is to score a lot of goals and achieve in every game, and if I do that I think I’ll be ready to go.

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In any case it’s hard to think that Mabil will be playing in Australia in two years time. Despite his tender age he causes significant problems for some of the A-League’s most experienced defenders.

If his body holds up – most recently his quad has kept him out for three weeks – he should get the game time to show important scouts precisely what he is capable of, but one other man he’s keen to impress is national boss Ange Postecoglou.

Whilst he is yet to make his senior debut for the national team, he has 12 caps with the Young Socceroos and endeavours to one day represent his country – he’s just waiting on that call from Ange.

“I can’t control [national selection], the only thing I can do is play well for my club and hopefully Ange one day, if I’ve done enough, gives me the opportunity I’ve been dying for.

“To play for Australia would be to give back, because Australia has done so much for me and my family, and I’ll work even double to give back for Australia… because it’s given my family opportunity.”

It’s a rare sensitivity that Mabil displays when he talks about the nation that took him and his kin in as refugees in 2006, and it’s not just on Australia that he gets his audience cooing. On the topic of being a role model to his fans he is equally as pragmatic, saying “I try my best to be a good idol for all kids, it doesn’t matter what background.

“I’m just trying to show that it doesn’t matter where you come from… you can always make it if you work hard.”

As the bellowers at Coopers Stadium will testify, Mabil is a hard worker. He leaves it on the pitch at Coopers, and while Adelaide Fans will recognise that his time at the club is limited, in the meantime they ought to sit back and enjoy this fast, skilful show.

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