Reports from Europe and the UK have emerged recently linking young Aussie forward Xane Zaineddine with some of the biggest clubs across Europe. Currently with Watford FC, he has caught many a scout’s eye as he leads his U16 team in goals and assists.
He joined the Hornets last year after being offered a place at both Barcelona and AC Milan, but it was his close friendship with Panos Armenakas which saw him opt for the Hertfordshire club. The two young talents who “are much more like brothers” played futsal together in Australia in a team coached by Xane’s father, Imad.
“They bounce football ideas off one another,” Imad told Football Central.
“Xane knowing Panos was at Watford helped him make the decision to go with Watford as opposed to the options he had at the time. Xane thought if Watford was good for Panos then it would be fine for him.”
The 15 year old made the move with his parents, brother, and sister from Sydney 16 months ago. His family have been influential in nurturing Xane’s love of the world game, especially his father who has coached him along the way.
“Xane has been playing football since the age of four,” said Imad.
“I have coached him from U6s through to U10.”
But it is since moving to the UK that the player has really blossomed and seen him add a new dimension to his game according to his father.
“The football at Watford, and in general in the UK or Europe, has been great for his development,” said Imad.
“Xane learnt and developed at any early age when in Spain at the FC Barcelona Academy. He has been going to Spain prior to the UK for the previous five years.
“However, the UK has been good for him in the sense it has built his aggression which as a Spanish-type of player was lacking. He complements his game with the physical side.”
In Australia, Xane came through all the FFA and Football NSW programs such as Project 22 when he was twelve, and the Skillaroos from thirteen to fourteen before deciding to head overseas to further his development. Although as of yet there hasn’t been any contact with FFA, the player does hope to don the green and gold on someday.
“His immediate goals are to develop into the best footballer he can be as like other players,” revealed Imad.
“He would love to play for the Joeys and one day the Socceroos. Most of the Joeys and AIS boys were all Xane’s teammates.”
In the meantime, he is set to be called up to the Lebanese U17s in January where he hopes to “gain valuable experience” playing international football.
Despite all the attention and links to footballing heavyweights such as Real Madrid, Ajax, and Paris St Germain the Sydneysider is taking it all in his stride and not letting it distract him.
“Xane’s a good kid, his studies are important and he knows he does not want to be a “dumb” footballer,” explained his father.
“He wants to get into Sports Management and his school grades are very high.
“Thus far his mother and I have kept him grounded and will continue to do so. Xane knows working hard and not believing the hype will help realise his dreams as a footballer and a person.
“Xane’s mantra is ” hard work beats talent where talent doesn’t want to work hard.”
Xane knows all these clubs are great and humbled with the association but nothing is certain until it has been signed sealed and delivered.”
Whether Xane Zaineddine can fulfill his potential or not remains to be seen but it’s a positive for Australian football to have another up and coming player to keep an eye out for.