A quick glance at his CV would leave anyone thinking Scott Jamieson is one of football's seasoned campaigners, yet his boyish features and cheeky smile quickly dispel the notion. In fact, the Adelaide United midfielder only turned 20 on 13 October this year.
During the opening match at the FIFA World Club World Cup Japan 2008, Jamieson was arguably the best player on the pitch, notable above all for his tireless work down the left flank and his capacity for winning back possession. Added to that, he gave his team extra ammunition going forward, with his formidable shooting power a powerful asset. That said, his own assessment of his performance against Waitakere United was nothing if not humble. "You know, as long as I can help my team-mates, that's the most important thing," he told FIFA.com. "I tried to create a few chances for myself, but my goal was also to stay disciplined and watch my positioning. They had ten players behind the ball, so it wasn't easy."
Far from being one of the game's most imposing players at 1.78m and 76kg, Jamieson nonetheless set out on his career at a young age. At 17, he tried his luck in England, with Bolton Wanderers, but was unable to break into the first team and made just one appearance in a friendly against Hibernian in 2007. The lessons he learned in the reserves proved invaluable, however, not least if Adelaide come up against Manchester United in the semi-finals in Japan. "They're just a fantastic club and it would be huge to play against them in the semi-finals," Jamieson said. "I know some of the players because I played against them five or six times in the reserves – players like Daniel Welbeck and Darron Gibson. As for the rest, I'm like everyone else; I know all United's big stars and you don't need to be an expert for that!"
Having returned to Australia this year, he quickly emerged as a vital cog in the Adelaide line-up, despite his tender years. "He may be young but he's already got a lot of games under his belt," explained coach Aurelio Vidmar. "He's quick, aggressive, he's got remarkable hunger and he knows how to play. He's an excellent asset for us." As a result, the Sydney native has contested 14 A-League matches since making his debut in August, including 13 as a starter.
Jamieson has also picked up vital experience from his appearances with Australia's U-17 and U-20 sides, having competed in the FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005. A senior debut cannot be too far away either, after national coach Pim Verbeek named him as part of the squad to face Qatar in October.
For the moment, however, his mind is entirely focused on facing Gamba Osaka on Sunday. The Japanese outfit made short work of Adelaide in the final of the AFC Champions League last month, winning 5-0 on aggregate, and the pain of that defeat is clearly still present: "They're a great team. Yes, obviously it'll be a chance for revenge. We were far from convincing in our two matches against them and that was very frustrating."
How do Jamieson and Co plan to go about changing the outcome this weekend, then? "We gave them far too much control of the game," he said. "They're a team who like to play and you can't let them do that. If we manage to improve our ball retention, create some openings and penetrate their defence, I think we can score. We've put a lot of preparation into this match and we'll be ready.
"Their strength is in their squad depth and their ability to get forward," he added. "But, to our credit, we know how they play and we know what we have to do. We were very unhappy after the final and we want to use that frustration to win this third instalment against them." Like a wounded animal, Adelaide sound very much as if they will be at their most dangerous in Toyota City. Gamba would be wise to take note.