GREEN AND GOLD: Mills’ strong form at Melbourne City led to him being selected for the Young Socceroos.
What a whirlwind 12 months it has been for Wooragee export Alec Mills.
The 18-year-old went from playing under-20s for Border outfit Murray United to representing Australia less than a year later.
Mills showed enough promise at the end of 2018 with Murray to earn himself a contract with A-League powerhouse Melbourne City at the start of last year.
The talented young centre back impressed with City at NPL level, working his way up from the under-20s to the starting senior line-up, before bolting into Young Socceroos calculations.
Mills made a handful of appearances at the AFC Under-18 Championship in Vietnam, helping Australia to victory.
He’s recently completed the National Youth League season with City and has been regularly training with the club’s A-League squad.
“What an experience that was going away to Vietnam and representing your country. Not everyone gets to do that, let alone playing alongside the best players in Australia,” Mills said.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get the results that we wanted to in NYL, but it was still good to start and play for Melbourne City.
“The NYL is very different to NPL because we’re all a similar age, but in NPL they are all older guys, bigger bodies and bigger contests.
“The NYL is a lot quicker. Everyone moves the ball a lot quicker and you have to be aware of everything around you because you don’t get the time and space like NPL.”
Mills has had the opportunity to mark star City striker Jamie Maclaren at training, who is second in goals scored in the A-League this season with 13.
“I’ve probably learnt to be more robust against the bigger guys because I’ve been training A-League quite regularly,” he said.
“Matching up against Jamie Maclaren and chasing him around, it’s been crazy.
“(Defenders) Harrison Delbridge and Curtis Good have been giving me tips and a helping hand every now and then, which helps a lot with my game.”
Mills hopes to remain in the conversation for Australian selection, with the Olyroos (under-23s) his next major goal.
“I just want to keep training well, working hard and be persistent,” he said.
“The under-19s have AFC qualifiers coming up, so hopefully I get into that squad again.
“Hopefully I can get called up to the Olyroos in the next year or two, but I’m still a fair way off with my age as it’s under-23s and I’m only 18.”
Mills is one of 12 nominees for this year’s Norske Skog Young Achiever of the Year Award to be presented on February 20 at Albury’s Commercial Club.
It’s the second time Mills has been a finalist.
Source – The Border Mail, 05.02.2020