Victory eyeing Strikers winger

IT STARTED with a spot on the bench for Tasmania against the Melbourne Victory youth team late last month.

HOT PROPERTY: Michael Holden lines up for Melbourne Victory’s youth team during a trial match.

Thirty-three minutes, one goal, and a near-miss later, Michael Holden suddenly became hot property among some of Australia’s biggest A-League clubs.

The 17-year-old now finds himself in Melbourne for a week-long trial with the Victory youth team, after initial interest from Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.

It’s been a whirlwind few days for the Devonport Strikers winger, who is still coming to terms with the fact he may get signed by the team he supports.

‘‘I got a call-up from the Victory last Thursday and they organised me to come over,’’ Holden told The Advocate yesterday.

‘‘Sydney and Western Sydney showed some interest, but Melbourne just got it all done for me and were first in.

‘‘A couple of years ago Kevin Muscat [Victory coach] came down to Devonport for a clinic and I’ve followed him and Melbourne Victory ever since.’’

Holden, who travelled over with his dad Stewart, had little time to settle in to his new environment, lining up for the Victory in a trial match against Box Hill the day after he arrived.

He will train with the squad three times this week, before a second trial match on Saturday night.

‘‘It’s been good so far, I’ve been enjoying it,’’ Holden said.

‘‘I didn’t think I went too bad in the first match — it was the first time I had met them [my teammates].

‘‘They play the same formation as we do at Devonport, but it is a bit more technical than what I am used to.’’

Upon his return home next week, Holden won’t have long to find out if he has made the cut, with the Foxtel National Youth League starting on October 18.

‘‘They have 25 players at the moment, but they are looking to contract 16 of them,’’ Holden said.’’

‘‘When I get back we will see what happens, but nothing is organised at the moment — I’m guessing I’ll get a call from them (Victory).

‘‘It’s always been a dream that’s starting to come to reality now and it’s a bit of a shock.’’

Holden’s elation was also shared by Strikers president Rod Andrews, who said it was a great coup for his club to have a talented player get a direct chance with an A-League club.

‘‘It’s just great vindication for our club in terms of what we are doing with our junior program,’’ he said.

‘‘Sydney FC wanted his details on Monday, a couple of other clubs were in it as well, then Melbourne Victory came along and trumped them all.’’

Holden could become the third North-West Coaster to break into the A-League system, with former Devonport player Jesse Curran still in the Central Coast Mariners’ set-up, while Ulverstone junior Jeremy Walker’s stint at Melbourne Heart came to a close last season.

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