8: Surprise Packet Nathan Burns

The 27-year-old was a key figure in turning Wellington Phoenix from flat-liners to high-flyers as they surged to 4th on the A-League ladder last season. Always showing plenty of promise, the boy from the bush is finally delivering on his undoubted potential and storms into our Top 50 Aussies in 8th spot.

8 Nathan Burns

Surprise packet

Position Attacker Club Wellington Phoenix (now FC Tokyo)

Burns was a deserved recipient of the  Johnny Warren Medal after a tremendous A-League season. In his first full season back in Australia, Burns was a standout – particularly early in the campaign. The 27-year-old finished with 13 league goals, with his speed, finishing and smart runs often on show.

“Since moving to Wellington I think Ernie Merrick pushed goals from me,” Burns said. “I’ve been a lot further up the park and getting into goal scoring positions.”

But, like most, his biggest memories will be from the Asian Cup – where he featured in three games.

“Definitely the Asian Cup was a standout. You can’t go past that tournament,” Burns says. “I think it was a massive achievement. We’re still looking back at that tournament and how successful it was.” His fine form led to interest from abroad once more. Burns is sure to be a Socceroos regular – and in more than just a role off the bench for coach Ange Postecoglou’s team.

HE SAID: “It was a good year. Personally, I felt we had a good run in club football and then to be up there with the leading goal scorers was one of the highlights at club level.”

THEY SAID: “One-on-one I think he could take just about anyone apart in this competition.” Ernie Merrick