Leeds and Liverpool fans set for glimpse of ‘new Harry Kewell’
From Robbie Slater through to Mark Viduka – the history of the Premier League is littered with sensational Socceroos playing a starring role in proceedings down the years.
But with Tim Cahill departed – England that is – and Mark Schwarzer an increasingly periphery figure in the English top-flight, there is a sudden notable lack of star players from Down Under.
However that situation could change if the likes of Chris Ikonomidis continue to impress.
An attacking midfielder who has enjoyed his best form playing on the left side of an attacking trident, the 19-year-old has already drawn comparisons with former Leeds and Liverpool star Harry Kewell.
Born in Cronulla, Sydney, the midfielder moved to Italy as a junior after catching the eye of Atalanta while on the books of the Sutherland Sharks back in 2012.
A year later Lazio came calling for the Australian attacker, recruiting Ikonomidis on a three-year deal.
Since then the youngster has continued to develop with Lazio’s Primavera under-20 squad, earning call-ups to the Biancocelesti first-team squad on several occasions already.
It’s testament to the work of youth team manager Simone Inzaghi, with the attacker enjoying a run of eight goals in eight games from mid-September to early November with the youth side.
And with Australia national team coach Ange Postecoglou keen to nurture young talent within his Socceroos setup, it was therefore not a massive shock to see Ikonomidis called up this month.
Still very much a work in progress, the midfielder could find game time in this week’s friendly encounter with Germany.
Due to be broadcast on ESPN, the match could offer fans of both the red and white persuasion the opportunity to see if he really does fit the bill as the next Kewell.
The game also offers a rare opportunity to any potential Premier League scouts looking to unearth a bargain.
Out of contract at the end of next season, Ikonomidis could be available at a cut-price fee, while any English top-flight sides open to a move could even opt to play the waiting game and sign him for nothing in the summer of 2016.
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