Roar's re-signed Brattan enjoying step up
Unassuming Brisbane midfielder Luke Brattan is enjoying the challenge and responsibility of stepping into a key role as the two-time champions scrap for their A-League survival.
The 22-year-old English-born Brattan was rewarded for his good work with a two-year contract extension on Thursday, the day before the club's crunch match with Newcastle at Hunter Stadium which could edge it back into the top six, five weeks out from the finals.
Speaking after coach Mike Mulvey declared he potentially could be one of the A-League's best midfielders in a few seasons, Brattan said he still felt he "had a long way to go" before feeling comfortable in his pivotal role.
The former Australian Youth Team member has made 22 appearances for the Roar since debuting against the Gold Coast in August 2010.
But he has stepped up since the departure last month of midfielder Erik Paartalu who is now playing in the Chinese Super League.
"I haven't played for a while but now I am starting to get some game time, so to re-sign is a great honour for me," said Brattan.
Brattan accepted Mulvey's observation that he still had work to do on his fitness after being restricted to minimal minutes when Paartalu owned the midfield.
"I've got a lot to learn," Brattan said.
"I've got to get my fitness up to where it needs to be, defensively I have to work on a few things but I'm getting there.
"Training every day with Thomas Broich, Stef (Shane Stefanutto) Bes (Besart Berisha) and Jade North, you learn something new every day.
"I love being on the ball and taking responsibility. That's what I play for."
Mulvey likes how Brattan is developing since being handed his chance.
"Luke has been in the shadows but he's shown he wants to be on the ball all the time. Give him a few more years and I think he will be one of best midfielders on the game," he said.
Mulvey felt his players displayed plenty of passion bouncing back from a very tough week to score a 2-0 win over Wellington last weekend.
He promised his players would have a real dig against Newcastle.
"We going to press and we're going to push high and we're going to try and take the game to them," he said.