Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy may be gone but there is another Australian making inroads at Brighton & Hove Albion, with teenage midfielder Cameron Peupion scoring goals for fun in the Seagulls’ Academy side.
The 18-year-old former Sydney FC junior is living up to the considerable fanfare which greeted his move to the South Coast six months ago, firing in eight goals in 11 games for the Under-18s to put himself within touching distance of breaking into the Under-23s.
With Ryan out on loan at Arsenal until the end of the season and Mooy in the Chinese Super League, Peupion would join Swedish-Australian Peter Gwargis should he force his way in the club’s second string.
His prolific goal tally - which included another in a 2-1 loss to Tottenham Under-18s at the weekend - is all the more impressive as Peupion has played across four different positions so far, including right back.
“I’m loving the football over here,” said Peupion. “I’ve played all over - winger, attacking midfield, a second striker and even a half at right back.
“The level is excellent but I’ve also trained quite a few times with Under-23s and that’s a step up again.
“I haven’t made a debut for them yet but I’m continuing to keep on pushing.
“If I keep scoring goals and playing well I think my chance will come.”
Peupion, who spent five years with the Sky Blues Academy, never got to know either Mooy or Ryan, partially due to COVID-19 training segregation regulations.
“It’s a shame - they were two players that I looked up to coming to the club and hoped to play alongside one day,” he added.
“They’re two great players and a loss to the club. But we’ve all keep kept separate the past few months.”
Peupion is working to sharpen up the defensive and tactical aspects of his game as he looks to progress and win a contract extension beyond 2023 at a club he believes will stay in the Premier League, an ambition boosted by the 1-0 overnight victory against hapless Tottenham at The Amex.
“I think they have what it takes to stay up,” he said. “Often this season the results haven’t reflected the quality of the performances.
“They’re playing some really good stuff and the rewards should come.”
Peupion is convinced he’s in the perfect environment to progress with the artful football philosophy put in place by first-team boss Graham Potter permeating throughout the club.
“The quality of the coaches is great and I’ve just got to keep doing my job, which is scoring goals,” said the kid from Sydney’s northern beaches.
“This is a club where playing a certain way is important.”
Though this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup has been cancelled, the Tokyo Olympics are still on, at least for the time being, and Peupion hopes he might be in with a shout.
“You never know what might happen,” he said. “I’m just going to keep my head down and if I was presented with the opportunity to play at an Olympics it would be incredible ... a great achievement.
“I don’t know whether it might come sooner or later.”