Melbourne City marquee signing Jamie Maclaren has shrugged off critics who think the Socceroo should have stuck it out in Europe.
The boy from Sunbury returns to Melbourne after stints in Europe with German side SV Darmstadt 98 and loan spells with Scottish outfit Hibernian.
Maclaren finally broke his duck in the national team after leading the line in the Asian Cup, but Hibs manager Neil Lennon left the club last week after an alleged incident at the club in late January.
Maclaren scored eight goals with Hibs in the second half of 2017/18, but only found the net once this season when he struck against Aberdeen last year.
Hibs were persuaded to end his loan to Scotland and then Darmstadt 98 released him to join City, causing some Australian football fans to question his ambition.
“I’m in a situation where I’m 25, I’ve seen and heard enough from fans that at the end of the day, they’re only looking out for themselves and I’m only looking out for myself,” Maclaren said today at Fitzroy Primary School.
“It was a situation where City offered me a great deal and I’ve always wanted to play in Melbourne. It’s always been a dream of mine to play at home in front of my family, but at the end of the day, people don’t realise, I spent 11 years away from home.
“I’d like to see them do that and for me to do that, miss family, I can now see my mum every day. Family is so important to me, I’m a family man and I’m just grateful to be back.”
Maclaren said the familiarity he has with the A-League after his success at Brisbane Roar – where he became the highest Australian goalscorer in A-League history in back to back seasons – will help him at City.
But he also said he wanted to be happy playing football again.
“In Germany, they tried to put me in a different position, and I wasn’t happy, so I’d go home thinking my football side wasn’t happy,” he said.
“My football situation at Hibs was great for the first six months and then I got injured with a serious back injury. I then wanted to get fit for the Asian Cup and while I was there, the manager got sacked.
“People don’t realise the situations players go through and I saw a situation, I evaluated everything and at the end of the day, I thought this was the best decision for me.
“What people don’t realise when a new manager comes in, if you’re a loan player, it’s difficult.
"For players that are signed, they’re there permanently, but if a new manager came in February, I’d only have three months left in my contract.
“He probably didn’t want to play me for whatever reason, so I wanted to have some security and City offered that and here I am.”