'He's better than me at his age' - Chipperfield hails son following in his footsteps

Golden Generation wingback Scott Chipperfield isn’t given to hyperbole - so when he states that teenage son Liam is “better than me at the same age”, you can take it as read.

The 16-year-old is following the same path at FC Basel, the Swiss Super League club where his famous father gained legendary status with seven league titles, six cups and 350 appearances over 12  remarkable seasons.

Attacking midfielder Liam, also a leftie, made his senior debut in a 4-0 win over second tier FC Schaffhausen during last week’s international break, scoring one and setting up another.

Born in Basel, he’s been on the club’s books since the age of six, and the gifted dead-ball specialist could well feature again in coach Ciriaco Sforza’s plans before the end of the season.

“He’s definitely better than me at the same age,” said Scott. “So you never know.

“He’s doing really well right now and has also been with the Swiss Under-17 team as well.

“To get that time with the (Basel) first team is a real kick-along for him.”

Liam has spent just six weeks of his young life in Australia, and his loyalties understandably lie with the land of his birth.

Able to operate as a number 10, eight or even six, Chipperfield junior has, according to Scott, “been dedicated to football from the moment he could walk”.

“He grew up coming to watch Basel play at a time when we were in the Champions League and were winning leagues and cups and he was pretty motivated from day one,” he added.

“He was out on the pitch and up on the balcony celebrating with players when we won things.

“He’s been in and around the club longer than I have!”

A veteran of the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup campaigns, Scott, 44, is based back in his hometown of Wollongong for the time being conducting coaching clinics and watching from afar as his progeny’s career unfolds.

“Liam did really well against Schaffhausen. He started and played 60 minutes,” he continued.

“I was bit worried that in his first time up with the big boys they might be a bit too sharp or strong for him but that wasn’t the case.”

Though the pair talk regularly on WhatsApp, 68-cap Chipperfield has deliberately steered away from seeking to indoctrinate his son on any finer aspects of the game.

“I’ve kept out of things pretty much because he has good coaching staff at Basel, and I don’t want to be telling him one thing and they’re saying something different,” he explained.

“I’m more than happy to let him go the way he is. He’s shown a lot of determination and commitment and he has the right attitude.

“Hopefully he’ll spend more time training with the first team and maybe break through in March or April. He turns 17 in February.

“He’s far more committed than I was and he’s received a really good football education, whereas I was pretty much playing kick-around games (until signing for Wollongong Wolves).”

Chipperfield senior famously drove buses to supplement his income until he was 24, signing for Basel a year later to send his career into the fast lane.

“My career got serious later on and I’m happy the way it went,” he said.

Scott has already been inundated by agents looking to move Liam on.

“They want to send him here or there but I tell them he’s happy where he is, and has school to finish first which is important,” he added.