Sliding in to defend the likes of David Villa and Robin Van Persie won’t be seasoned Socceroos we’ve become accustomed to over the decade, instead, it will be Jason Davidson who at age 22 will have the weight of a nation on his shoulders in the last line of defense.
Like many of his Socceroo teammates, Davidson never played a minute during qualifying to get to Brazil and despite being one of our only natural left-backs, was regularly overlooked by Holger Oesik. Though despite his misfortunes, Ange Postecogolu’s rejuvenation of the Socceroos has handed Davidson a new lease in the national team and will play a central role in the Brazil campaign.
“To put on that Green and Gold, to pull on that shirt and play in a World Cup, that’s been my dream since being a boy, so it’s a dream come true for me,” Davidson told The TURF.
“You get goosebumps when listening to the national anthem, it’s just an amazing experience I can’t describe.”
After arriving in Brazil last week, Davidson’s been ticking all the boxes leading into the World Cup. Not only did Davidson impress the local and foreign footballing media with his fluent tongue of Portugese. He’s been given the tick of approval from the Socceroos coaching staff securing his position in the final 23 squad.
But it’s been a tough road for Davidson to get to this point in his career.
At just 14 years of age, Davidson travelled to Japan to train for three years with one of Japan’s most exclusive footballing schools. At his first training session, he was one minute late so as punishment he was forced to shave off all his hair along with enduring the hatred of his teammates when they all were forced into shaving balled too.
Having survived this thorough and often brutal training regime, Jason has emerged as one of our brightest prospects for the future, ready to take on the world.
“It’s not going to be easy with Chile. They’re going to be the dark horse. I watched them play a couple of months ago and they tore the opposition to shreds, so I think all three games are going to be difficult. We’re going to be the underdog in the group but I think that suits Australian teams.”
Being the son of former Socceroo legend, Alan Davidson, Jason has already reached a milestone that his father was never able to achieve, a place at the World Cup.
“I speak to my dad a lot and we talk about everything with my football.”
“We speak pretty much everyday after games, before games and he’s just excited because he never played in the world cup so hopefully that’s something I can achieve that my dad hasn’t achieved. He’s had a great career so hopefully I can do something that he hasn’t done and he’s very proud (of me).”
Last week’s farewell friendly against South Africa showed positive potential from the 22 year-old, who played strong defensively, whilst creating attacking chances up the field, a trait that will be valuable in Brazil. Though realistic about Australia’s up-hill battle at the World Cup, Davidson’s optimistic about how the Socceroos can impact the tournament as the underdog.
“I think we’re flying under the radar, no one expects anything from Australia. We have a lot of players in the team who are pretty much nobodies that can work to our advantage.”
“There’s no pressure or expectation on us so I think with a young squad we can excel and use that to our advantage.”
Words by Jacob Arnott