Melbourne youngster already on Liverpool's books.
Australia is crying out for a technically gifted player to follow in the footsteps of retired greats like English Premier League stars Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell. In teenager Jake Brimmer, who’s already on the books with Liverpool, we just might have our man ...
WHAT’S HIS STORY?
Jake Brimmer hails from Lilyfield in Melbourne’s east. The now- midfield magician supported Liverpool as a youngster (thanks to his father) and always dreamt of one day playing for the famous English club. Brimmer honed his skills at the Rowville Sports Academy and with his junior club Nunawading City. Before long he was impressing onlookers with his sublime skills and eye for a goal. Brimmer joined Football Federation Victoria’s National Training Centre in 2013, a program that has produced several Socceroos and A-League stars. Word of the playmaker’s ability began to spread, eventually reaching a talent scout at Liverpool during the superclub’s tour of Australia that year. Not long after the scout came to watch Brimmer in action, he was signed on a three-year contract at the sprightly age of 15. Brimmer has his fair share of admirers, including none other than Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou. Rodgers has described him as a “gem” and an “outstanding talent”, while Postecoglou actually tried to sign him at Melbourne Victory where he was in charge before he took over the Australian national team. Able to relocate to the UK before turning 18 courtesy of his Maltese heritage, Brimmer is enjoying life on Merseyside. His international career is already off to a flying start thanks to a pair of eye-catching free-kick goals for Australia at the Asian Football Confederation’s Under-16 Championships last year. With his family moving with him, the youngster has found his feet alongside some of the biggest names in the game. “To train with the players and to put on that red shirt is just unbelievable; it’s been fantastic,” says Brimmer. “I had to adjust to the tempo here; they’re more physical and the game’s played a lot quicker than back home.”
WHO’S HE LIKE?
With Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill both heading to the UK as teenagers and making their names in the Premier League, the comparisons are obvious. But Brimmer is more like QPR and Socceroo star Massimo Luongo – an unassuming, baby-faced midfielder who can play a variety of roles. Able to take play in both defensive and attacking midfields, the 17-year-old has been used in different positions for club and country, such is his versatility. With a touch like Marco Bresciano and an engine like Mile Jedinak, Brimmer is one talented individual. Joeys coach Tony Vidmar, who himself enjoyed a long playing career in Europe, refuses to pigeon-hole him: “Jake Brimmer reminds me of Jake Brimmer. I don't like to compare players; we don't want to put added pressure on our younger players.” But Brimmer has already been anointed by many as a future Socceroo talisman because Australia rarely churns out such skilful and inventive footballers so desired by top foreign clubs. The Victorian’s first big test comes this month with the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile, where Australia has been drawn in the tournament’s “Group of Death”. Vidmar, who says Brimmer is very coachable and determined, believes he will play a key role for the Joeys in South America: “Developing and working hard come naturally for Jake; his biggest challenge will be himself. He needs to be the best player on the park.” Brimmer is excited about his first World Cup and knows the hard graft to fulfil his dreams is only just beginning. “My dream is to play in the Premier League and represent Liverpool,” he says. “But it’s a long way to go; there’s a lot of people fighting for your spot.”
WHAT DO THEY SAY?
“He’s got some major obstacles to overcome, but he’s a very talented kid. He’s very committed to the national team as well, so it would be great if he could develop.”
– Ange Postecoglou, Socceroos coach
“He has the ability to get past players in small areas and then also give great passes between opposing defences. There is a feel that when he is on the ball, something will happen.”
– Tony Vidmar, Australia Under-17s coach