23/04/2024

Cameron Devlin celebrating for Wellington last year. (PHOTO: A-League)

With a strong start to his career in Scotland, is it time Cameron Devlin made his full debut for the Socceroos?

Cameron Devlin is starring in his role at Hearts in Scotland, but is it time for the Socceroos selectors to start taking a serious look at him? 

Born in Sydney, the 23-year-old defensive midfielder spent his youth career at NPLNSW outfit Sutherland Sharks as well as Western Sydney Wanderers. Devlin signed for Sydney FC in 2017 and made just seven appearances in a two year period. 

However, a free transfer to Wellington Phoenix in 2019 proved to be the one to kick-start his career. In his first season at Wellington, Devlin made 20 appearances in the A-League Men’s (ALM), and in December of that season won the ALM Player of the Month award. 

In January of 2020 he was nominated for the Young Footballer of the Year award, and ended up finishing fifth in Wellington’s player of the season award. 

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Devlin enjoyed another brilliant campaign at the Phoenix in 2020/21, playing 23 games as well as taking out Phoenix’s Goal of the Season award. 

His strong form saw him poached by the Newcastle Jets in July of this year, before Scottish Premiership side Hearts won his signature in August, just one month after being signed by Newcastle. 

The midfielder was selected by Graham Arnold for the Olyroos Olympics tournament but did not feature in a single minute of the campaign.

Now, with a point to prove, Devlin is already demonstrating to the Scottish football world how good he can be.

He’s only played the two matches thus far, but his most recent performance in a 3-0 win caught the eye of Scottish football experts and fans. 

Devlin played the whole 90 minutes and produced some incredible statistics, which include 12 out of 16 ground duels won, five out of six aerial duels won and a passing accuracy of 86.4 per cent. 

The Aussie received Man of the Match honours for his performance and was also selected in the Scottish Premiership Team of the Week. 

The young star has only previously made two appearances for Socceroos U20’s, and two appearances for Socceroos U23’s.

Is he being overlooked by selectors? Devlin was also quite unlucky to not get a minute under his belt at the Olympics, especially after two impressive A-League seasons. 

But for Devlin now, it’s not about U23 selection, it’s about Socceroos selection, and if he keeps putting out performances like his most recent match, it will become almost impossible for Graham Arnold to ignore heading into the next round of International fixtures.

However, the Socceroos midfield is arguably the most competitive aspect of the squad at the moment, with many players putting their best foot forward to sit an a holding midfield or box-to-box midfield position.

Ajdin Hrustic and Jackson Irvine occupied the holding midfield positions in both of the Socceroos most recent World Cup Qualifiers, with James Jeggo replacing Irvine in both matches.

It’s possible that Devlin could come into the squad and play that rotation role Jeggo had in partnership with Jackson Irvine against China and Vietnam, or possibly even replace Hrustic in the second half of a match – even though the Hrustic role is a bit more advanced.

Devlin’s best position is in the defensive part of the midfield but he is no stranger to advancing up the pitch, nor is he afraid to shoot from distance or attempt to play a key pass, attributes that have been key to the rise of Hrustic in the Socceroos squad.

Devlin’s versatility allows him to occupy either of Irvine’s or Hrustic’s roles.

If he was to make the squad, it would be highly unlikely that he would get a start over either of the current midfield pairing but with the current form Devlin is in, it would give Graham Arnold plenty of selection headaches heading going into the matches against Oman and Japan.

Catch Cameron Devlin in action for Hearts in the Scottish Premiership Sunday morning at 12:00am.

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