• Cameron Burgess (white shirt) in action for Fulham against Ipswich Town (AAP)
Australian teenager Cameron Burgess has emerged as a bolter in Fulham's bid to jump straight back to the Premier League after making his league debut for Felix Magath's men at just 18.
By
David Lewis

16 Aug 2014 - 1:23 AM  UPDATED 16 Aug 2014 - 9:49 AM

The rapidly rising product of Perth's renowned ECU Joondalup Academy played a full 90 minutes as the Cottagers began life in the Championship with a 2-1 loss at Ipswich last weekend.

And a performance of maturity and boundless commitment did nothing to harm the rookie's chances of landing more game time when Fulham entertains fellow Aussie Scott McDonald's Millwall on Sunday (AEST).

One of four Joondalup alumni at Craven Cottage - striker Adam Taggart, winger Ryan Williams and goalkeeper Jake Soutter are the others - centre-back Burgess showed his versatility by playing out of positon in midfield.

Born in Scotland but transplanted to Perth aged 11, Burgess was just happy to be involved, explaining: "It was a bit of surprise to get a start against Ipswich but a nice one.

"I'd been involved in the pre-season games and while I am a centre-half really, I was more than happy to play wherever the boss wanted me to.

"This is a club determined to return to the Premier League this year and there's quality all over the pitch in every position.

"To be involved with the first team, especially at my age, is pretty special and hopefully I can play some part in us pushing on for promotion.

"This is such a tough league and the games come thick and fast."

Neither Williams (suspended) nor Australia striker Taggart (injured) are available for the mach against Millwall as Burgess bids to cement his place in Magath's senior set-up.

With both British and Australian passports, he has the option to represent his homeland of Scotland and also the green and gold without being bound to either until he makes a full international appearance at senior level in a FIFA-sanctioned tournament.

Burgess already has three caps for Scotland's U-19s and one for its U-20s but was also part of an Australia U-20s camp in Dubai earlier this year along with fellow West Australians Peter Skapetis (Stoke City) and Scott Galloway (Melbourne Victory).

There have been ongoing discussions on being a part of Paul Okon's Young Socceroos squad for October's AFC Under-19 Championships in October in Myanmar, with Australia needing to make the semi-finals to qualify for next year's FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

"There have been a few talks and we will see what happens," said Burgess who joined Fulham in a scholarship two years ago.

"Obviously I have a strong connection with Australia. It's where I started to really develop my game and I made so many friends there inside football and elsewhere. There's a great sporting culture there."

With Australia to play Belgium and Saudi Arabia in Liege and London early next month, Burgess could conceivably even jump into contention should he continue to flourish at Fulham.

His roots, though, are steeped in Scottish football folklore with grandfather Campbell Forsyth winning four Scottish caps as a goalkeeper in the 1960s during a career which saw him play for St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Southampton while father Stuart played for Albion Rovers, East Fife, Falkirk and Kilmarnock.

"With my background they were proud that I was capped for Scotland and it was a big moment for me," said Burgess who speaks with a distinct Scottish twang.

"But their main concern is more about me cementing a career in club football than anything else because if you don't do that then there is no chance of playing international football anyway."

Burgess, who trained with Aberdeen and Celtic as a kid and was also on Perth Glory's books at as junior, added: "I was coming up to 11 when we moved as a family to Australia.

"My parents are still there and I talk almost every day to dad about football and general stuff and really value his advice.

"I couldn't be happier with how things are going but there's an awful lot still to do and so much to learn."

Burgess is part of a wave of talent to emerge from WA in recent years through ECU Joondalup which, in addition to the Fulham four, has has spawned the likes of Brad Jones (Liverpool), Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Rhys Williams Middlesbrough, Shane Lowry (Leyton Orient), Jordan Lyden (Aston Villa), Alex Grant (Stoke City) and Peter Skapetis (Stoke City).

Its founder Gary Williams - now an agent based in the UK - said: "I am not sure if there's something in the Joondalup water but it's been a breeding ground for some excellent players over the years and it's a work in progress still.

"A lot of it is down to the good coaching of (Scotsman) John Brown and I am proud to have been involved in some part.

"The likes of Cameron are good examples of where this talent can be channelled if you find the right club and environment to take these players to the next level."