Next gen Socceroos look the goods
When the 2006 World Cup qualifiers were uniting Australian fans through cheers, beers and tears, it was one of the greatest feelings of our lives.
For the first time in 32 years, we qualified for, and earned the right to participate in the world’s largest sporting event. It was bliss.
I can guarantee that each one of you out there remember exactly where you were the night we qualified as do I, and ever since, we have talked of “the golden generation”.
But inevitably over time, gold begins to tarnish and we need to look for a way to restore its beauty and charm; enter “generation next” – the future of Australian football.
Kewell, Cahill, Schwarzer, Neil, Viduka, Aloisi and Bresciano were some of the European standouts that helped us conquer our curse and place Australia as perhaps not a World Cup-winning contender, but a hell of a hard opponent to beat.
And who knows how far we could’ve gone, had it not been for several controversial moments but alas, that is football.
South Africa ended before it really began, but Brazil will be an opportunity to showcase some of the finest up and coming talent Australia has to offer.
At the weekend, we gained a glimpse into a few names who may continue to rise over the forthcoming years, and who knows, they could become world class for all we know.
It is an exciting time, so here is a preview of three worthy contenders to form part of “generation next”:
The Aston Villa player has managed to earn the faith and support of Alex McLeish as his talents continue to rise. Not too long ago, the 22-year old earned himself Man-of-the-Match against the Wolves, and if he can keep it up at a club like Villa, he may find himself to be a critical component of the Socceroo’s Brazilian campaign.
The Reading goalkeeper has been tipped for quite some time to take over from Schwarzer, and while immensely talented, the Fulham native doesn’t appear to be giving up the reins any time soon.
But where will both of these great keepers be by 2014? Federici is a promising and confident replacement for the ageing Schwarzer, and it is hoped that he will be seen more regularly in the national team.
Kayserispor signed Troisi in 2009, and today the 23-year old is beginning to find his feet a little. Still young, but effective on his day, Troisi has all the talent it takes to be Australia’s next big star.
Come the next World Cup, he will be 26, and could very well be a deciding component in Australia’s tournament.
All young and all talented, these three could very well form Generation Next as their promising careers progress.
With Holman and McKay kicking around 30 come Brazil, it may be the younger generation we need to look forward to, but hands are clasped that they can still be solid performers in the years to come.
McKay has made a wonderful transition to Scottish Premier League side Rangers, and for now, all eyes are on him as Kewell and the rest of the golden generation begin to tarnish – how ever so slight – as the best years start to pass.
The most exciting element about football is that tomorrow, next week, next month or next year there could be a new Socceroo we all scream ‘hero’ for, there could be a player somewhere in the world we haven’t heard about, who breaks out of the woodwork and leads generation next to the Brazil World Cup final.
Will the Aussies of today still be around? Or will an even brighter segment make its mark between now and then?