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Five A-League Superstars that could make it in Europe

Monday 27th February 2017
The Hyundai A-League is truly coming on as an Asian football competition: entertaining game, decent investment and most importantly – the production of some real football talent. Here's some of the division's finest which if given the chance – could do well in Europe.

Jamie Maclaren

Jamie Maclaren is a real prospect for the future of Socceroos; having already made two appearances for the Australian national side in his young career. Currently turning out for Brisbane Roar, the striker is the league's third top scorer with eleven goals. In fact, he's been electric since joining the Roar from Perth Glory. Last season he finished as the second top scorer with eighteen regular season goals and a further two in the post-season. Maclaren's father was born in Scotland and henceforth was eligible for the Tartan Army; and played for the U19 side before switching to the Australian side.
A collection of last year's goals.

Late last year there were rumours about the player moving to Stoke City, however, no move actually materialised. This Australian could be the difference for a club which finds it hard in front of goal, and could easily bolster many Bundesliga clubs. Although, he might want to honour his highlands heritage and choose to play in Scotland. In theory, he would be a good fit for Rangers, who score considerably less than other teams in the top four – despite being third.

Marco Rojas

The Kiwi international is an integral part of the Melbourne Victory having re-joined at the start of the season. He's recaptured the Victory fans' hearts by finding the good form he had before he left the A-League. In some ways, it feels wrong to put Marco Rojas on this list, given that he's just come back from Stuttgart and failed to make an impact there or any of the clubs he spent time at on loan. However, the lad is clearly talented having scored eleven and assisted a further ten – making him directly involved in twenty-one goals, the most of any player in the division.
Highlights from the most recent Melbourne Victory game where he scored a goal (a stunning free-kick) and assisted another.

Given Stuttgart's contemporary plight, it probably wasn't the best place for a young player several thousand miles away from home to develop his career. He'd be best of in a well-established club which can nurture him as a squad rotation option. His versatility would suit him well at a good championship club – i.e. Leeds United, Brighton or even Newcastle.

Adam Taggart

Perth Glory's Adam Taggart was widely praised for his performances in the 13/14 season (with Newcastle Jets), where he won the golden boot, young player of the year award and made the team of the season. Such accolades brought the interests of London club, Fulham who signed the striker at the young age of nineteen. Although game time with the championship club was so limited, he didn't make a single competitive appearance for them. He did, however, make seven appearances for Dundee United, where he spent a short time on loan. Whilst in the UK, it's safe to say he didn't find the form which heralded him as such a young soccer icon. Although it was more naïf of Fulham to think that at a tender age, he'd be so effective in arguably one of the roughest/toughest leagues – the Championship. After all, the differences between the A-League and the English second tier are vast, and probably too much for a teenager to adapt to.

Now back in Australia, he's doing very well again. With Perth Glory, he's scored ten goals; which makes him one of the league's top scorers. Should Taggart want to further his career via European football; there would be other options available to him. The lack of playing time in West London hasn't seemed to have stunted or affected him – considering he's still doing well. A matured goal scorer is welcome at most clubs. He'd arguably fit in at an Eredivisie side, given the similarities in pace and quality in the league. Willem II would offer stability and they have a need for goals having only scored nineteen all season – whilst still being mid-table. That'd be a platform should he continue going forward with his career.

Rhyan Grant

Rhyan Grant has played a major role in Sydney FC's defensive masterclass this year. He's played every single league game bar one, showing he is a pillar at the back and lets very little go past him. He's spent his entire career with Sydney FC since he was a youngster, now aged 25 it's possible he's outgrown the club. His prowess and ability at the back would make him an ideal candidate for most Italian football sides; Pescara need some sturdiness at the back – he would certainly add confidence into the backline there.

Lawrence Thomas

Lawrence Thomas plays as a goalkeeper for Melbourne Victory and looked solid between the sticks. He's kept the second highest amount of clean sheets in the current season and been ever present for the Victory. As a result, the team have a decent goal difference, only inferior to runaway leaders Sydney FC. Goalkeepers are always hard to gauge because they often get attention for their mistakes and not rewarded with the same focus when they perform well. The best barometer is most likely to be if he's stayed out of the news and in the starting eleven; which Lawrence has done.

The keeper did spend a season in South Yorkshire, at Sheffield United when they were a Championship club back in the 2010/11 season. However, he didn't make a single appearance for the Blades and left the club for the Victory. Should he get the chance again; now matured at the age of twenty-four he could make a difference for a championship club. He'd be a great addition at Nottingham Forest, where the keeper position is up for grabs. The Reds have tried Stojkovic, Henderson and now trying Smith as their stopper – but nobody has been consistent. Thomas would offer just that for them; and given he's spent a year in England anyway, just an hour away in Sheffield, he wouldn't find it too hard to adjust to the East Midlands.
Warren Smith

Yokohama F•Marinos supporter. Seen it all in the J.League, relegation fights and being crowned champions. Play five-a-side, pretty good too. Once scored an overhead kick.

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