Let's hear it for the Mooy
By Kieran Pender
While playing for the Bolton Wanderers Reserve side, Aaron Mooy may not get the plaudits he deserves. Many Australians wouldn’t know his name, he doesn’t get to play every week in televised games, and he has to take on other reserves teams on freezing Monday nights. But Mooy is one of the future Socceroos developing his game in a top European League, honing his game in an effort to eventually play for the Bolton first team, and hopefully one day for the Socceroos in a World Cup.
Mooy joined Bolton Wanderers ahead of the 2007/08 season from Westfield Sports High School, a school which also produced ex-Bolton, current Adelaide United defender, Scott Jamieson. As Mooy puts his story, “I was spotted playing in Australia by a Bolton Scout and was asked to come on trial, and from there I signed.”
Bolton Academy boss Peter Farrell last year told the media that "He came over here when he was 14 years of age after being spotted in Australia. He got his education here at Bolton School, but he is a tremendous footballer.”
He continued to heap praise on Mooy, saying that while "...He still needs to work on his game, like the times when he hasn't got the ball, ability-wise, he oozes class. It doesn't surprise me that he has been selected for his country."
This selection for Australia has come both in the form of Youth team selection, and more recently a senior squad call up. Mooy was selected for the Young Socceroo World Cup squad, and despite a strong build up, the team failed to excite at the FIFA U20 World Cup, losing all three games.
While Mooy was disappointed with the result, he still felt there were positives. “I was disappointed (not to progress) as I thought we had a good enough squad to go past the group stage, but we just didn’t perform at our best and it cost us. However it was good to see that we were trying to play the right way, keeping the ball on the ground and moving it around, so that was a positive.”
Mooy was unexpectedly called up to the Socceroos squad for a friendly against Ireland last August, and although he didn’t make the match day team, he still thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “I was over the moon when I found out (I’d been called up). It was something I didn’t expect and it was a great experience.”
He was also the star of the prestigious Terborg Toernooi youth tournament in early 2009, earning player of the tournament award, in a tournament featuring youth sides from Ajax, Liverpool, Valencia. Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Versleijen was full of praises for Mooy after the tournament, telling the press that “To have Aaron Mooy named as player of the tournament is a great achievement for Aaron in a very famous and high standard tournament.”
Unsurprisingly, Mooy enjoyed the tournament, in which the Young Socceroos finished third. “It was a great experience playing at the Terborg tournament as there were so many good teams and players involved in the tournament.”
Mooy has also been in good form for the Bolton Reserves, and starred for the side in their victory against Manchester United Reserves in the Manchester Senior Cup. He hit back for Bolton after United’s Paul Pogba had opened the scoring, and Mooy also proceeded to score the winning penalty in the penalty shootout.
Scoring twice against such a highly regarded youth side was a great achievement, and Mooy was pleased with the game. “It was a great win that day and the team played really well, so overall I was very happy.”
Mooy has featured prominently for the reserves team this season, and will be hoping to soon make the step up to the senior squad, or move out on loan. While Mooy believes a move on loan to a lower division side would be beneficial, he is wary of moving to early. “It would be a great experience to go on loan, but I’ve just got to concentrate on playing for Bolton at the moment.”
While moving to a foreign country at such an early age must have been hard, Mooy has found it easier to adapt because of the other young Australians currently playing in England. “Dean Bouzanis (Liverpool youth keeper, currently on loan at Accrington Stanley) and I hang out every week, I’m always in Liverpool with him! It’s great that he’s not too far away, as we’ve been hanging out since we were young.”
Mooy is hopeful of his chance to play in the Bolton first team soon, but he definitely isn’t getting ahead of himself. “All I have to do is keep trying to play my best, keep my head down, and keep trying to improve my game!”
Many thanks to Aaron Mooy for agreeing to an interview.
This article featured in Goal Weekly, Australia's best weekly football newspaper. Check it out at your local newsagent.