Training in Europe is better than playing regularly in A-League, Pim?
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The last time there was an away Socceroos match on a non-FIFA date was against Bahrain on February 22, 2008. FFA managed to convince some of the second-tier European clubs to release those who were not playing regularly to play for the Socceroos.
Playing in that match were Ante Covic, Josip Skoko, Scott McDonald, Michael Thwaite, Jon McKain, Brett Holman, Luke Wilkshire, Ahmad Elrich and Archie Thompson, who at that time were all at European clubs.
There were only a few A-League players at that match and that included David Carney, Michael Beauchamp and Alvin Ceccolli. This team was successful and manage to beat a full-strength Bahrain side 3-1.
Fast forward to today and we took an all A-League squad to Indonesia and manage to get a 0-0 draw.
The players for this match included mostly experienced players and the only players who got game time that could be considered young were Scott Jamieson, Matt Simon and Billy Celeski. So it was obvious that Pim Verbeek was gunning for a result in Indonesia and not developing young players.
So why didn’t he broaden his selection to Euro-roos struggling to get a game for their clubs?
Players like David Carney, Mile Sterjovski, Richard Garcia, Brad Jones and also young players like Nathan Burns, David Williams, Adrian Leijer, Neil Kilkenny and Dario Vidosic could have been considered as all of them are not playing regularly for their clubs.
Also, Luke Wilkshire and Shane Steffanuto could have been drafted in as the Russian and Norwegian season is over. I’m quite sure Luke Wilkshire would love to get some game time before he gets selected for an important World Cup Qualifier against Japan.
This will also improve important depth of the team. Let’s be honest: apart from three young players I mention before and Craig Moore and Archie Thompson, none of the team has a realistic chance of being selected for a full-strength Socceroos squad in the near future while the second-tier European players do have a chance. If the clubs said no and they refuse to release the players then fine but there was no indication that anyone in the FFA coaching staff even tried.
It’s not like Pim Verbeek was training with A-League players for a month and that putting in new players was going to disrupt team cohesion. After all, they only had one training session together so this is very much trying to get a result in Indonesia with a team that never played together before.
So adding in European players will make no difference to team cohesion except to strengthen the squad. We will now never know whether these players would have made a difference and would allow us to beat Indonesia.
What’s more bizarre is that Pim believes that training in Europe is better than playing regularly in the A-League. So Pim, put your money where your mouth is and prove it.
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