Teenage Australian brothers Tyrese and Marlee Francois are making waves in England and are under consideration by FFA for national selection.
Eighteen-year-old central midfielder Tyrese is on the books at Fulham but has been recently linked with interest from Valencia, Crystal Palace and Celtic.
Younger brother Marlee, 16, last week left Fulham to sign for Bristol City’s academy.
Both were born and raised in Sydney, moving to London six years ago to chase their footballing dreams. Father Jean explained to The World Game the journey his sons have made from Campbelltown to sign for the Cottagers.
“We came here in 2013, from Sydney, and have been here ever since,” he said.
“We’re football fanatics. The boys grew up in Campbelltown, they were born in Campbelltown hospital. Tyrese started playing football at the age of five with United Church football club, then he went to Camden Tigers.
“Tyrese signed for Fulham first and then three months later Marlee got in. Both boys have been with Fulham for six years now. But now Marlee has joined Bristol City, he’s following his own pathway."
Jean admits the transition has been tough but support from Fulham and not having to pay expensive academy fees like you woiuld in Australia has helped.
“It hasn’t been easy because we had to leave family and friends behind. We’ve still got our home back in Australia. It has been hard, but we’ve managed to go for it," he said.
“Fulham’s been very good, they’ve been very helpful with our family just where to live and to set up the boys with school. Especially the training the boys have been getting, it’s just on a different level to what it is in Australia.
“It’s first-class training, you just can’t compare it. That’s why I wanted to come to Europe, for them to get that kind of training.
“In Sydney football is not the same level, and on top of that you have to pay for academies. It’s not easy to be able to afford it, with two boys in the same academy.
“But here in the UK you’re picked on your skill, how good you are and that’s it. You’re in. You have nothing to pay at all. That’s to our advantage.”
Neither brother has represented Australia at any level, but are also eligible to play for England. But The World Game understands FFA has been in contact with the Francois’, with Tyrese under consideration for the Olyroos in March and Marlee being considered for the Joeys’ World Cup squad in September.
“We just got a call from Australia about Tyrese two weeks ago, they’re monitoring him,” Jean said.
“Trevor Morgan has talked him to about the Olyroos. He watched Tyrese’s last game against Aston Villa and said he was very impressed.
“That would be a good opportunity for him. He really wants to play for Australia and eventually the Socceroos.
“Hopefully he does get picked and can show what he can do for Australia. Both boys have dual nationality and England has already been starting on Tyrese.
“They’ve been asking Fulham for a while if he has dual nationality and they said yes. England have asking two or three times about Tyrese’s performances, they’ve been chasing his stats.
“But he wants to play for Australia because that’s where his heart is. That’s his ultimate goal. It’s flattering that England is after him as well, but his heart is with Australia.
“Trevor has also asked for game video of Marlee. They’re looking at him for the Under-17 World Cup.”
Tyrese is a central midfielder who has already featured seven times for Fulham’s first-team. This season he has made three appearances in the EFL Trophy and 15 for the club’s Under-23s in the Premier League 2 competition.
The 18-year-old is hoping to win a call-up for Graham Arnold’s Olyroos squad that will participate in the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in March.
“Hopefully I can get called up for that,” Tyrese said.
“I had Trevor [Morgan] as a coach when I was at Westfields Sports High School. We should find out in the next month.”
Tyrese, who has also signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Adidas, is off-contract at the Premier League club at the end of this season. The midfielder is eager to experience senior football after playing above his age group for several years.
“I’ve been with the 23s or the reserves for almost two seasons now,” he said.
“For my progression next season definitely I should be aiming to be in the first-team, either at Fulham or somewhere else really. For my development I think first-team should be my aim. The next six months is about big decisions.
“Definitely I want to play in the Premier League [one day]. It’s one of the biggest leagues in the world. That is my goal. Any team, just to be in the Premier League in the future.”
With other European clubs circling Tyrese, father Jean said they are waiting to see what deal the west London outfit will come up with to keep him a Craven Cottage.
“Fulham have promised that they are keen on offering him a new contract, but nothing has been offered to us yet,” he said.
“We’re still waiting. In the meantime we have received other interest from other clubs based on his performances. Some of those clubs are keen to take him on board.
“It depends on what kind of contract Fulham offers. For us is to be a worthwhile contract, we want a first-team contract for Tyrese.”