Brett Emerton: The introverted hulk

Brett Emerton's size is deceiving - he hustles defenders with his bulky frame, but has the legs to bolt from one end of the field to the other.

Australia’s shy defender walks tall on the pitch

Brett Emerton 

Born: Feb 22, 1979 in Sydney, Australia

Position: Defender/ Midfielder

Clubs played for: Emerton began his career with Sydney Olympics F.C. in Australia’s New South Wales Premier League in 1996. After playing in the 2000 Sydney Games, Emerton was transferred to Dutch giants Feyenoord for $650,000 US and spent three season with De club aan de Maas (The Club Upon the Meuse) establishing himself as a speedy and assertive defender. Blackburn Rovers bought him in 2003 and the Australian international has since made 260 appearances for the east Lancashire club.

International career: In a short time, Emerton rose through Australia’s national ranks, lacing up for the under-17s in 1994 and making his debut on the senior squad four years later. The 31-year-old captained his country in the Summer Olympics in Sydney and cemented a place in the senior squad as Australia qualified for the 2006 World Cup. He played in all three group games, but missed the Socceroos Round of 16 match against Italy through suspension. In all, Emerton has played 72 times for his country and scored 17 goals.

Why is he so special? Off the field, Emerton has a calm, quiet and altogether shy demeanour. On the field, he is a driven defender who hustles attackers with his bulky frame. Emerton’s size is deceiving, however, as he has the legs to bolt from one end of the field to the other, joining the attack.

His most famous moment: The 31-year-old scored two goals for Australia in an important 3-1 win over Qatar that sent the Socceroos to the final round of Asian qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

He said it: "It has crossed my mind (becoming Australia’s most-capped player, surpassing Alex Tobin’s 87 games), and I like to think I am still relatively young and I plan to play for the Socceroos for many years to come."

What they're saying about him: "If Brett walks into a room, he’ll be the one who’ll stand in the corner and not be centre of attention. He’s always been that way." Michael Emerton, Brett’s Dad

Here's an interesting fact: In 1999, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson called Emerton’s father Michael to inquire about bringing his son to Old Trafford for a trial. The younger Emerton, then 20, declined the offer to stay in Australia and prepare for the 2000 Olympics.