U-20 World Cup to showcase Gameiro flair

Australian strikers have enjoyed a long history of success at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and now young gun Corey Gameiro is set to continue the trend.

Australian strikers have enjoyed a long history of success at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and now young gun Corey Gameiro is tipped as the man most likely of achieving it when the Young Socceroos take on the world's best in Turkey.

The likes of Frank Farina, Mark Koussas, David Mitchell, Jim Patikas, Mark Viduka and Scott McDonald are just some of the Aussie forwards to carve out a niche at FIFA's second biggest World Cup.

None though had quite the same impact in qualifying as newly signed Wellington Phoenix striker Gameiro whose six goals for Australia - comprising 100 percent of the team's tally - lifted the side to the semi-finals of the AFC U-19 Championship and passage to Turkey 2013.

Wollongong product Gameiro has made an immediate splash in the Hyundai A-League, where he is on loan from English Premier League outfit Fulham. The 20-year-old was duly rewarded for some typically high-energy displays with a goal in his second outing for the Phoenix last weekend against Adelaide United.

Few people are better placed to pass comment on Gameiro's burgeoning career than long-serving Wollongong-based coach Glenn Fontana.

Currently technical director with South Coast Football and the region's State League team South Coast Wolves, Fontana has overseen Gameiro's career starting at the age of just six, introducing him to senior football with the Wolves as a 15-year-old, before eventually helping pave the way for a move to Fulham.

"Corey is quite an enigmatic player, maybe frustrating for a coach as he can do nothing for 89 minutes and then do something really special," said Fontana.

"He is quick and enthusiastic with a big engine and a decent first touch."

But after failing to receive any game time two years ago at Colombia 2011, can Gameiro succeed on the world stage and help the Young Socceroos make a return to the halcyon days of the 1990s when the Aussies featured in consecutive semi-finals?

Fontana response is unequivocally in the affirmative, albeit with a proviso.

"We are looking at a new level at the World Cup compared to the Asian qualifiers where he succeeded last year," Fontana said.

"He will need the right service and the team has the capability of providing that with the likes of (Mustapha) Amini and (Terry) Antonis.

"It will be a great chance for him to show what he can do, and I'm confident he can do well with his strong running and incisive runs off the ball.

"He always had something that other players don't have, that being x-factor. He chases down lost balls and always is likely to show something special."

Like many a young Aussie footballer abroad, Gameiro's overseas expedition has been somewhat of a roller-coaster experience.

Liverpool were interested in signing the youthful Gameiro as a 15-year-old but his tender age ultimately proved too much of a hurdle. However, when the Reds recruitment manager Malcolm Elias made the move to Fulham it precipitated Gameiro linking up the Londoners.

And the Port Kembla-born Gameiro was soon turning heads at Craven Cottage helping the Academy side to success, notably winning the Premier Academy League title last year.

However a loan spell late last year at FC Eindhoven in the Netherlands proved less than successful with game time remaining limited.

Gameiro, who has a Portuguese father and English mother, is enjoying regular action at the Phoenix, although with an eye on the 24-nation World Cup in June.

After that, Fontana said, Gameiro and the Hyundai A-League would make a nice fit.

"Maybe the A-League has a future for him," said Fontana.

"Maybe he will be more settled back home and then of course Europe is always an option down the track."