Newcastle Jets young gun, Angus Thurgate is one step closer to heading to Indonesia for the AFC U-19 Championship.
The Port Macquarie junior has been selected as part of a 25-man Young Socceroos squad – with two to be omitted – set to head to the Gold Coast for a training camp and then overseas for the tournament in mid-to-late October.
It’s the continuation of a meteoric rise for the youngster, who made the 250km move to Newcastle from Port Macquarie as a 15-year-old in pursuit of his footballing dream.
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Thurgate made his debut for Newcastle in January, and quickly developed into a player who brought an explosive injection of pace and skill off the bench.
Now aged 18, the midfielder has already had a taste of the national set-up – during August’s camp on the Central Coast.
“It was good, there were a lot of good players there. It’ll be good to go one step further and hopefully, I can make that final 23 and make it over to Indonesia,” Thurgate said.
“I thought the quality of the training was unreal, everyone was there to put their best foot forward and try to do enough to get into the squad.
“In the camp, I was playing as a defensive midfielder. I’d play anywhere if I could get a game, I’m eager to play anywhere.
“It would be unreal to go to Indonesia with the team, it’s what I’ve wanted to do for a while so if I get the opportunity I’d love to do that.”
Despite all the plaudits coming his way, Thurgate is keeping a level head.
“I’m just taking everything in my stride, it’s been a hectic year and I’m looking to keep improving and take the opportunities that come my way,” Thurgate said.
“If I’m lucky enough to go away, I hope to come back and get plenty of minutes, and put my name forward for future camps and teams.”
One man who has been a big part in the midfielder’s speedy rise is Newcastle Jets boss, Ernie Merrick.
It was his decision to upgrade Thurgate from his scholarship contract to a full contract back at the end of August, and said at the time that it just ‘made sense’.
“Gus has just improved out of sight since he joined the senior grade training,” Merrick said.
“He is a boy who can play just about any position. He has a lot of technical ability, enormous endurance, and a terrific attitude – nothing fazes him.
“He just gets on with the job. If he makes a mistake, he picks himself up, gets on with it and gets it right the next time.”