Lindsay on brink of Phoenix debut

If Cameron Lindsay gets a chance to make his debut for Wellington Phoenix against Central Coast Mariners on Friday, it will mark yet another chapter in an already bulging scrapbook for the 18-year-old Kiwi.

If Cameron Lindsay gets a chance to make his debut for Wellington Phoenix against Central Coast Mariners on Friday, it will mark yet another chapter in an already bulging scrapbook for the 18-year-old Kiwi.

After winning the Manchester United Cup with Auckland side Central United in 2007, Lindsay trialled with European teams Everton, Glasgow Rangers and Blackburn a year later before signing a four-year deal with the latter club to the delight of the senior team's captain, Kiwi Ryan Nelsen.

To add to the ecstacy, the young defender notched his first (and only to date) international goal against Japan in 2009, a match New Zealand won 4-3 in preparation for the 2009 Under 17 World Cup qualifiers.

After playing all three of the qualifiers, Lindsay was a part of the first New Zealand side to advance past the group stage in a FIFA event. They then dipped out in the second round at the expense of the host nation, with Lindsay picking up a red card.

But just as it looked like Lindsay's career was scaling new heights - a reality check. After making nine appearances for Blackburn's academy side in the 2009-10 season, Lindsay didn't feature the following year as he struggled to make the substitutes bench.

Still, Lindsay kept his head up and played at the 2011 under-20 World Cup in Columbia, where he featured in the 1-1 draw with Uruguay as New Zealand were eliminated in the group stages.

Lindsay said the two World Cup appearances to date, while contrasting, were two highlights in what has been an already fairly substantial career for the teenager.

"Qualifying out of the group stage, that was a real highlight," the young defender - who also can play in the midfield - said.

"To play on the world stage and play against some of the upcoming stars that has to be two of my highlights so far."

Lindsay was released from Blackburn and was snapped up by Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert as one of the three compulsory under-20 players in his side, and Lindsay said so far he was loving his time in the capital.

"I'm the youngest boy here but to be with the senior pros I think it's been really good and very enjoyable so far."

"For someone like myself who's only 18 at the start of my career to have guys like Tony [Warner] who has been around the block a few times - he's been at Liverpool, Fulham, some big clubs - to have him and train alongside play like him its good for someone like me."

"It can only be good for my game and my development."

While his friends ask for tickets now and again, Lindsay's disciplined attitude means he won't be joining them in nightclubs or bars. It's tough, but the Kiwi knows there's a long-term benefit.

"When I went to England I was only 15, so I've been kind of in the professional environment for a couple of years."

"I can't really as a young boy go out every weekend and do what my mates are doing, but that's what you've got to sacrifice if you want to make it to the top and make a living out of the game."

"That's something I am willing to do because I do want to make a living out of the game and I do want to be a professional for as many years as I can."

They're words that while sounding like cliches are anything but for this young defender. They're words of passion and desperation, two qualities the defender hopes to show on the field should he get his maiden opportunity this weekend.