Get to know young Wanderers star Lawrence Hanna.
I never tire of speaking with young footballers; the common thread is that their love of the game dominates the conversation over the talk of making it big.
Almost all hold the belief that any spoils are a by-product of thousands of hours of hard work, patience and sacrifice.
Lawrence Hanna is a mature 16 year-old attacking midfielder with the Western Sydney Wanderers who has the football world at his feet.
As a young over-active boy his parents suggested he burn off his endless energy stores and choose a sporting pursuit. He played his first game of football at grassroots level for his local Bankstown Greenacre Eagles U6s and still to this day gets the same level of excitement at lacing on a boot and dribbling and juggling a ball.
He is relishing his time at Wanderland under Youth Head Coach Trevor Morgan and has benefited from his strong ethic of executing the basics of the game perfectly.
“Trevor-s emphasis on a short, free flowing football style has been a huge key to my improvement and maturity as a footballer,” said Lawrence.
“After each training session and game I always leave thinking about how I can improve on the mistakes I made and how I can help the team further.”
A key ingredient in getting players to perform is making them happy within the club environment and the Wanderers have worked hard to achieve a very harmonious balance in the dressing room. For the coaching staff getting the best players on the pitch at senior level and developing young talent can prove difficult but Lawrence feels they have the right recipe for success right
Lawrence-s immediate goal is to play senior football for the Wanderers and after training with the squad feels it is more a matter of when and not if.
“Tony Popovic gives you plenty of confidence as a player as he genuinely believes in your football talent.
“I just go on the pitch to prove myself for the team, always try do the little things well and never get casual or complacent.”
Asked what his ultimate football utopia would be he was quick to point out that it is every footballer-s dream to play for his country and that he hopes to be part of Paul Okon-s Joey-s squad for the U20 World Cup in New Zealand in 2015.
Despite that passion to wear the national colours he would love to one day play for his beloved Arsenal FC.
“It would be a dream to play with a club that I have enjoyed watching since I was a young boy!”
His hero is Shinji Ono who he says is professional in every aspect of his game and life.
“He is a perfect footballer to watch and learn from at the club and approaches his football in such a positive way that it is hard not follow his lead.”
Of course the name of Arsenal and French great Thierry Henry is high on the list as well as the exuberant personality of Swedish goal scoring sensation Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
To relax away from the pressures of intense training and schoolwork Lawrence loves to watch movies, listen to plenty of R&B and dabble in writing and performing freestyle rap with teammate Alusine Fofanah.
“I don-t take it all too seriously but we love writing things down and hearing how it sounds.
“As important as it is to train and work hard at the game it is also important to give your body and mind time to recover so it is the perfect release for me.”
Image Credit: Quarrie Sports Photography