Roar young gun in line for starting spot

A MAIDEN A-League goal and the unavailability of Scott McDonald have boosted young gun Mirza Muratovic's hopes of starting for Brisbane Roar against Western United on Sunday.

Muratovic came off the bench and scored in the Roar's 2-1 weekend win over Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium.

It was a just reward for the 20-year-old marksman, who has forced his way into Roar coach Robbie Fowler's selection plans through hard work and undoubted talent.

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The goal was particularly timely for Muratovic given McDonald will sit out this weekend's clash in Ballarat against his former club due to what Fowler described as a "goodwill gesture" from the sixth-placed Roar.

The in-form McDonald only moved last month to Brisbane after falling out of favour with United coach Mark Rudan.

"It's just for this game," Fowler said of McDonald's absence.

"But when someone doesn't play, it's always a chance for someone else."

That "someone else" could be Muratovic, who moved to the Roar as a teenager in 2017 from FFA's Centre of Excellence in Canberra.

Mirza Muratovic of the Roar celebrates with team mate James O'Shea after scoring a goal against Adelaide United during Round 18 of the A-League. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.
Mirza Muratovic of the Roar celebrates with team mate James O'Shea after scoring a goal against Adelaide United during Round 18 of the A-League. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.

"Good luck to the kid and hopefully he'll go on and score a load more," Fowler said after Muratovic's goal against the Reds.

"He's been on the periphery all year. When you come into teams as a young kid, you can have that high rise and then a little bit of a lull, (but) we've kept him with us.

"He looks a handful … you've seen what he can bring, you've seen what he can do.

"We're delighted as a club because getting your first goal is special."

Muratovic said scoring in the A-League would boost his confidence.

"I'm happy to contribute to the team whether I'm starting or not starting," he said.

"Coming on, I made an impact. I'm really happy I scored my first goal and we got the three points."

Muratovic said it was an "unbelievable feeling" being tutored on a daily basis by Liverpool legend and former England striker Fowler.

"He's put belief in me. It's really good to have him as my head coach. He teaches me a lot of things. I've improved a lot under him," he said.

"He pushes you. He sets you little challenges, and he's always yelling in your ear, which is a good thing."

The recent arrival of former Socceroos marksman McDonald has also helped Muratovic's development.

"Scotty's been really good. Even in his first week in, he was giving me a lot of pointers," Muratovic said.

"He's very experienced, and he tells me a lot of things about how I can improve.

"He was watching me even before he came to the Roar, and was saying how I can do this better and I can do that better. He's been very helpful."



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