Henrique is looking to start for the Brisbane Roar.
Henrique is looking to start for the Brisbane Roar. Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Henrique holds ambition of starting spot with Roar

Brisbane Roar crowd favourite Henrique is known as the "Super Sub" as well as his "Slippery Fish" moniker, but he would also like to be seen as a sublime starter.

The Brazilian-born striker, and newly crowned Australian citizen, might get his wish as early as Sunday when the Roar takes on the Phoenix in Wellington.

That is because attackers Jamie Maclaren and Brandon Borrello will be unavailable on Olyroos duty, as well as defender James Donachie.

That trio will be aiming for the team to finish in the top three at the Asian Under-23 Championship in Qatar from January 14-30, a result that would see Australia qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this year. Henrique, who has four goals this season and has primarily been used as a bench weapon, said the unavailabilty of those three players would only serve to make training sessions more competitive.

"It (an opportunity to start) is not just for me, but every other player in the squad," he said.

"We've lost a couple of players to the Olyroos, so it's a chance for all of us to take our opportunities."

Henrique is adored by his fans, mouthing "I love you" to the cameras after scoring a brilliant goal in Brisbane's 2-1 win over Perth last Saturday.

But he also has a fierce desire to start games for his beloved city, and he makes no secret of that.

"Every player trains all week to be in the starting 11 - I'm no different," he said.

"But I will never question the coach's decision. If he thinks I'll be best for the team coming off the bench I will respect that.

"But I would prefer to start."

As well as professing his love for his fans at the Roar after scoring goals, Henrique is delighted to now call himself an Australian.

"Super proud. For me and my family it's a big thing. I'm really happy to be Australian now," he said.

He has been at the Roar since February 2009, and is one of the club's most celebrated and successful players.

But the 30-year-old comes off contract at the end of this season, and would be a shrewd pick-up for any other team which could offer him more starting appearances.

However, Henrique strongly hinted he wanted to keep playing in the Queensland capital from next summer and beyond.

"Every week I've been scoring goals. I'm pretty sure if I keep performing like I have been, the contract will sort itself out," he said.

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