Cougar chases A-League dream
DESPITE the Cougars’ ordinary finish in the Hyundai QSL, 2010 goes down as a stellar season for goalkeeper Tim English.
When the Cougars handed out their end-of-season awards, the 21-year-old collected the main ones, including Player of the Year.
However, the best was to come and when Football Queensland held its awards night recently, English was invited to Brisbane as a nominee for the Safe Hands Award for the top keeper in the Hyundai QSL for 2010.
Again the former Capricorn Coast junior was recognised for his displays, bringing the award back to Rockhampton.
“It was a surprise, it was good, though,” said the young star.
The rise of English was not yet complete with North Queensland Fury assistant coach Stuart McLaren showing interest in the young keeper.
Now English has received confirmation of the Fury’s interest.
“I’m heading up there (Townsville) next Monday afternoon,” he said.
“I’ll train with them throughout the week and return on Saturday.”
Working with A-League players will be a great experience for English who has ambitions for a career in the sport.
“It should be a great opportunity,” he said.
The success of English in gaining a trial with an A-League team is a timely reminder to Central Queensland players that there is a pathway in the sport.
However, talent is not always enough and, as in the case of English, hard work is required.
English spent a lot of time as an understudy to Gerard Kelly honing his skills and with few appearances for the Cougars to his name.
“You just have to keep trying if you want to get to a higher level,” he said.
Perhaps the tenacity of English can inspire other young players like current Coast keeper Hamish Fairweather.
Before the Wesley Hall Cup final English worked through a few sessions with Fairweather, but does he see the teenager as another potential star keeper?
“Definitely. He’s a real athlete,” English said.
The young keeper admits the pathway through the Cougars is a positive move and now it is up to him to impress Fury enough to gain a chance in their A-League youth squad.
McLaren, speaking from Sydney where Fury is involved in a double header this week, said English could look forward to a tough week with the A-League squad.
“He’ll find the training a lot more intense,” he said.
“Tim will have a better quality of shot and cross to deal with.”
At Fury, English will come under the watchful eye of goalkeeping coach Ken Mitchell.
Having watched English over the years, McLaren has seen first-hand the improvements in the keeper’s game and this has impressed him.
“He is relatively young, he was named best in the QSL last season where there are some pretty handy goalkeepers and that means he has a chance,” he said.