One of the A-League’s deadliest ever strikers has given Jamie Maclaren’s move back overseas the green light.
Archie Thompson says the Brisbane Roar hit man is ready to make an impact abroad, four years after departing Blackburn Rovers’ youth setup.
Since kick-starting his senior career back in Australia firstly with Perth Glory and then with Brisbane Roar in a highly successful two-year stay, Maclaren has netted 51 times in 91 total appearances.
In the 2016-17 A-League campaign alone, in which John Aloisi’s team finished third and reached the semi-finals, Maclaren found the back of the net 19 times, enough to earn him the Golden Boot alongside Besart Berisha.
The 23-year-old’s future with the Roar had been in doubt for some time, with his contract due to expire in June.
Maclaren confirmed he would exit Brisbane following their Asian Champions League game against Ulsan Hyundai and did so once more via his Instagram account on Monday.
Well those two years have flown by! Firstly, to all the Brisbane Roar fans, I’d like to officially announce that I will be leaving the Club. From day one the you have welcomed me, supported me and cheered for me. “The Red Baron” will never forget your loyalty and kindness. It’s been a pleasure to play and score goals in front of you all. To the Boss and all of the staff, thank you for showing trust and faith in me. I will be forever grateful. Over my two year journey, I have reached many personal milestones. These milestones wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s support. Lastly to the boys, where do I even begin!!! We all started off as mates but we have now become family. The dressing room would have to be the best dressing room I have ever been in. Walking out with my brothers on gameday is what made playing in this football team so special. Lads, I will miss you all! Want to wish everyone at the club all the Success and I will be following the Brisbane Roar like a fan! There’s room for improvement and growing as a footballer, I’m excited for the next chapter in my career. Thankyou Brisbane 🙌🏼 Much love #JM9
Maclaren is expected to sign with a Europe-based club, though the player’s exact new home is yet to be revealed.
And Thompson, who himself scored 90 goals in his decorated Melbourne Victory career, believes Maclaren has arrived at the perfect age to try his luck overseas.
“I think he’s been outstanding this year. He’s still really raw – there’s still parts of the game that I think he needs to work on as a striker,” said Thompson, who is acting as an ambassador for the ongoing Neymar Jr’s Five series.
“I think it might be the right move. Hopefully he gets some game time. That’s what it’s down to. He’s going to experience a lot of things and hopefully he gets some game time because that will help him.
“(Twenty-three) is perfect. I’m still a big believer that you need to get over there as early as possible. At least you know you’ve got the A-League to fall back on if things don’t go well over there, but you still need to get over there.
“The football there (Europe), it’s a different environment and it’s an environment that makes Jamie a better player, not just physically and playing but mentally.
“Sometimes football, as much as it’s a physical and a beautiful game to play, you’ve got to have a strong mind and I think being in Europe helps a lot.
“Playing in Europe, you only become a better player. (Mustafa) Amini is one player that’s gone over and improved so much, Mitch (Langerak) as a goalkeeper, Jimmy Jeggo’s gone over there and improved.”
Maclaren will make his move ahead of what promises to be a packed 18 months for the Socceroos, including a foray into the Confederations Cup and the end of the road to the 2018 World Cup.
Maclaren is twice capped for Australia but has yet to tie down a regular position in Ange Postecoglou’s squads since debuting against England in Sunderland a year ago.