Maclaren embraces pressure
Photo Source: AAP
Brisbane star Jamie Maclaren has embraced the expectation of re-producing the A-League magic that had thrust him into a Socceroos jumper earlier this year.
Maclaren made his national debut in May after an outstanding campaign that netted 18 goals in the regular season for the Roar, second only to Melbourne City striker Bruno Fornaroli's 23.
But speaking ahead of Friday's season-opener against Melbourne Victory, Maclaren had no hesitation in saying he could repeat his heroics this summer.
"I've always believed in myself. I've got coaches that believe in me, my teammates believe in me and I believe in what we're doing," he told reporters on Tuesday.
"The structures that we've set up is attacking. That's what I like and what the attackers like.
"The reason why I scored 20 goals was because of my teammates and all the chances they give me. It's my job to score goals but, if our team plays well, they'll create chances."
However, not only is the 23-year-old confident of more individual success, but he predicts his team could progress further than their agonising extra-time exit last season in the semi-finals.
In fact, Maclaren said his team could win the whole thing.
"Why not? Last year, we fell one short. We were 3-0 up in the semi-final and it's something that still hurts me and hurts the boys," he said.
"We started well last year and, if we can start well this year, it's all about consistently winning games. If we can do that at home, get our away record better, hopefully we should be right."
Maclaren has failed to add to his lone Socceroos appearance against England five months ago, and has been overlooked for upcoming World Cup qualifiers Saudi Arabia and Japan.
But he insisted his sole focus was on helping the Roar to a strong start to the season, which was a major factor in his success last year.
"I've got to get my form intact. I've got to start scoring goals during the season," he said.
"Coming into last year, I didn't have the thought of the Socceroos. This year is going to be the same. If the Socceroos comes, it comes. If it doesn't, I've got to make sure I'm right for the team."