Between 2011 and 2015, there weren't many Socceroos prospects brighter than a diminuitive, scarlet afroed, Afghan-Nicaraguan-Australian central midfielder. 

Jackson Irvine is the same age as Amini, while Tom Rogic is a year older. In 2011, while Amini was shipping off to Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund, Rogic was still at the Mariners and Irvine at Frankston Pines.

Flash foward seven years and Rogic has 42 caps and three World Cup appearances, Irvine 24 caps and three World Cup appearances and Amini a measly four caps, totalling 93 minutes, only five minutes of which came in competitive fixtures.

The rapidity of Amini's rise at the Central Coast Mariners was based on his deft touch, impressive mobility and excellent passing. He could even field a tackle - the lad had a little of everything.

He outshone teammate Rogic in his debut season, not least because of his intelligence and steadfast determination; traits that are shared by so many first-generation Australians. He's fluent in English, Dari-Persian and Spanish, c'mon.

Which is why it was devastating to see Amini's career scupper. Australians wave goodbye to a plethora of youngsters each year, as they leave our shore seemingly destined for greatness.

When they fail, which seems increasingly likely, like heartbroken exes we often blame it on anybody but ourselves. It's their personalities, work ethic, homesickness, even disparaging foreign coaches. But Amini's failure to make a single first-team appearance in four hopeful years at Dortmund proved that sometimes youngsters from other countries are just too damn good. 

"That's football sometimes," Amini told Vavel after leaving Dortmund in 2015.

"I learned a lot at BVB about life in general and of course, football. I'm grateful for the chance to learn at such a big club.

“I started playing football at the age of six and ever since then I haven't looked back and have enjoyed every moment of it. It's hard work and (demands) a lot of sacrifices but it's all worth it.

“I can break into the Socceroos and will, it's just about when and where, but time will tell.”

Amini's surprising inclusion in the Socceroos squad for the 2019 Asian Cup proves that patience is a virtue. He bolted into a cutthroat five-man midfield packed with talent, at the expense of the likes of James Troisi.

Now, like a canary in a coal mine, the midfielder is blazing a path for young Aussies who don't make it in big European leagues.

For the last three years he's endured the grind - away from family, the national team and the spotlight - plugging away in a Danish Superliga no-mans-land, waiting for someone to notice.

Now 25-years-old, in his eighth year in Europe, Amini finally appears ready. He played 36 games in 2015/16, 39 in 2016/17, 32 in 2017/18 and a whopping 19 already this season. In those 19 matches, he's already registered more assists (5) than in any previous campaign.

Australia may have become a nation of late bloomers, but if Aaron Mooy can attest to anything, it's that those who laugh last laugh loudest. Realistically, anybody who blooms at all is very lucky indeed.

“It’s my seventh year, coming onto my eighth year in Europe," Amini told after he was named in the Asian Cup squad.

"I’ve learned a lot and being alone, just the fight you have to (have) to get to the top and it’s all worth it to be at this Asian Cup.

“I’ve been on the bench a few times but to get that start that Arnie gave me and to sing the national anthem holding the boys next to me and having my family in the crowd was a remarkable experience and a dream come true.

“I can tell you the squad atmosphere is probably the best squad I’ve been part of, it’s a nice family. Everyone’s good, everyone’s helpful and everyone’s there to make each other better.”