EPL interest in Roar prodigy Waddingham deserved: coach

Joel Gould |

Brisbane Roar can understand why Thomas Waddingham is a young striker in demand.
Brisbane Roar can understand why Thomas Waddingham is a young striker in demand.

Tottenham are one of several Premier League clubs interested in signing 19-year-old Brisbane Roar prodigy Thomas Waddingham — and his coach Ruben Zadkovich is not surprised.

The Australian under-20 and under-23 representative has also been linked with a move to German giants Bayern Munich and Serie A club Udinese in Italy.

Zadkovich said 181cm powerhouse Waddingham had not been fazed one bit by the attention he was receiving, which could ultimately end up to be life-changing. 

It is his skill and attitude as a young footballer that has impressed on the way to seven A-League-Men goals in his debut season in a team that has struggled to find top form.

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou coached the Roar to back-to-back championships and a premiership in his short stint at the helm. 

Waddingham is contracted for a further two seasons with Brisbane and Zadkovich was asked what his response would be if the club was approached to release him.

“If Ange rang us and said he wants Tommy Waddingham? It would be nice to hear from Ange, but I don’t think it works like that,” Zadkovich grinned.

“He is generating interest from some big teams and it is warranted. We know we have a fantastic young man and fantastic young player on our hands but we have to be strategic with Tommy.

“My focus as a coach is to develop the player and that is what I have been working on the last few months. It is nice to see him take on that information and grow.”

The Roar lost their final ALM match of the season 4-3 to Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium but Waddingham came off the bench, scored and almost turned the match.

He entered the fray with the side trailing 4-1. His goal was sublime, turning to hit the ball in the box with his left foot after a pirouette movement that flummoxed the goalkeeper. His late header for what would have been the equaliser hit the crossbar. 

“Tommy’s skillset is pretty unique,” Zadkovich said.

“There are not many No.9s like him in the country. He can hold the ball up, link people in mid-third, he’s very dynamic in the box and his movement is very subtle and clever. There are a lot of intricacies in the game.

“He started the season at 18 straight out of the NPL and with no break led the line for the Brisbane Roar which is a massive thing to ask for someone of his age in his position.”

Captain Tom Aldred is set to leave the Roar and defender Kai Trewin has been linked to a move to Melbourne City.

There will be personnel changes for next season but Zadkovich said that would not change the style of play that he wanted to implement.

“We want to try and be a team that controls and dominates a game and tonight probably wasn’t our best at that,” he said.

“This group is at the end of a long and crazy season for them and they have stuck together through thick and thin and showed a lot of resolve as a group.

“They could have easily rolled over at 4-1 but that is not this group and not this club. There is still plenty of work to be done.”