PFA A-League Player of the Month Jamie Maclaren goes 1v1 with the PFA to discuss the work that has gone into his success at Brisbane Roar this season, the belief John Aloisi has given him and his hopes for the Olyroos.

Q. Last season at Perth you had to wait for a long time to get a regular starting chance. When it came you scored goals for fun. How satisfying was that having been so patient?

JM: As a young player it can be frustrating as you always want to play games. I tried to keep the mentality that if I got a chance I would take it. At the start of last season I was given a few chances and scored goals. Towards the end of the season I was looking at my options. In the last two games I scored four goals and that gave me a lot of confidence.


Q. The season would unfortunately finish earlier than expected due to the salary cap breach. How difficult was that time?

JM: We had all worked really hard to get to where we were. To be knocked out due to the salary cap was really tough. I think in football you have to move on quickly. Eight or nine players left the club and it has worked out for the players who have left, and I’m glad to see them doing well, and the club has moved on as well.


Q. You would depart the club under difficult circumstances. How do you cope with that time?

JM: I am very grateful to the support of the PFA. The staff such as Angela, Adam, Simon, Beau and Ben were all really supportive. Ben came and had lunch with me and it was great to have that support when things weren’t going well. I could not be thankful enough for what the PFA did for me.


Q. You hit the ground running straight away at the club. What was the key to that?

JM: Instantly I was welcomed to the club. John Aloisi and Craig Moore went out of their way and did everything they could for me. The boys like Matt McKay, Jack Hingert and Corey Brown helped me a lot as well. The way the Roar plays football suits me. I like to make runs in behind and we have players that can find me. It was also a tough pre-season and we worked very hard and it has paid off.


Q. The pre-season was far from straight forward at the club off the pitch. How did the players manage to get themselves into a position where they ready to make a good start to the season?

JM: The key was the staff we had. We had John as the Manager and Craig Moore and also the addition of Ross Aloisi gave us a lot of confidence and that allowed us to just focus on football. John has put the team together and we are a strong unit and you can see that.


Q. Your own fine form was recognised this month when you were voted as the PFA A-League Player of the Month. How does it feel to get that recognition from your peers?

JM: It was a good feeling to have your peers vote for you. There are some super players that have won the award and to win it is very special. I was a little bit shocked because I have had a good start but there have been some exceptional performances in the league to date.


Q. You have recently returned from Olyroos duty. How are things shaping up ahead of the Olympic qualifiers?

JM: We are looking really good. Right now it is about getting the right players in and working on everything. Aurelio (Vidmar, Olyroos coach) has a real tough gig to pick a squad of just 23 when there are a lot of really good players to choose from. We are looking forward to qualifiers.


Q. This season has marked the emergence of a lot of exciting young players in the A-League. Why do think that is the case?

JM: It shows the confidence that some managers are putting in young players. You look at Graham Arnold, who has taken Brandon O’Neill, who didn’t see any minutes at Perth last season, but at Sydney he has been arguably their best player. That shows the talent that is out there.


Q. You took the road of going overseas to the UK before returning home. Do you think with more young players being given their chance that more will chose to start their careers in the A-League before looking to go overseas?

JM: It has been six or seven years since I went to the UK. Prior to signing with Blackburn Rovers I was going to sign with Melbourne Victory’s Youth Team and I made the decision to go overseas on trial. It was a great opportunity. It has changed a lot here now and NYL has a much better reputation for developing young players and there are a lot of players coming though now and it is great to see.


Each week the PFA will go 1v1 with a current or former player to gain an insight into the lives of professional footballer on and off the pitch.