Make or break year for our young Socceroos
It was more than refreshing to see Holger Osieck spring some surprises at the selection table for our upcoming friendly against Scotland.
The selections of Jason Davidson, Chris Herd, Robbie Kruse and Ryan McGowan are a sign of things to come, allowing us to see some of our brightest future talents.
The most intriguing of the selections has to be Davidson, the son of former Socceroo Alan Davidson. Alan Davidson was a very prominent figure for the Socceroos and a local legend, and now his son has been given an opportunity to carve his own name and reputation.
The left-footed defender has had a breakout past six months in his career, after moving to Dutch Eredivisie club Heracles Almelo.
After starting his career for Hume City in the Victorian Premier League, Davidson was named best young player and earned a move to Portugese club Paços de Ferreira.
Here he was one of the youngest players in the Portuguese Liga Sagres when debuting at 18. After being loaned out, Portugal provided little first team action for Davidson, which led to his move to the Netherlands.
After breaking into the first team for Heracles in the latter part of last season, Davidson has featured prominently in the pre-season, paving the way for a spot in the starting eleven.
This will be crucial year for the son of a Socceroos great, as the left-footer looks certain for a break out year in the Eredivisie and for the Green and Gold.
Another of Holger’s favourites, Robbie Kruse, is ready to show us why he was so highly rated in the A-League, especially after the last season he played with Melbourne Victory.
Moving to the Bundesliga second division was seen as a poor career move for Kruse, however with some good fortune, his club Fortuna Düsseldorf will be lining up in this seasons Bundesliga. Holger is certainly a big admirer of Germany’s top league.
From all reports coming from Germany, Kruse has every opportunity to be in the starting line-up against FC Augsburg on the 25th of August. He has been a standout in the pre-season and now with no niggling injuries he has been lighting up the training track.
Coach Norbert Meier has certainly let him know he is a chance for the opening round, especially after his pre-season match winner against NEC Nijmegen in July. Let’s hope this Socceroo X-Factor has a season to remember.
Ryan McGowan looks an ever inviting replacement for our leader Lucas Neill, after being named as Hearts ‘Young Player of the Year’ in the Scottish Premier League, the powerful defender looks to be a star on the rise.
Last season was huge for McGowan who claimed a regular slot in defence and scored a memorable goal in the 127th Scottish Cup Final against Hibernia.
While missing the Scottish powerhouse Rangers in the upcoming season, the SPL will still prove a more than valuable year of development for McGowan who will thrive under a season starting in defence.
The versatile full-back has an opportunity to take on more leadership and responsibility and perhaps generate a move to bigger club Celtic or even the English Premier League in the not too distant future.
Aston Villa’s Chris Herd is finally ready to make his Socceroos debut after previously missing out through injury the times. Like McGowan, last season provided a massive boost for Herd who claimed a starting position in midfield for the Villans towards the latter part of their campaign.
Herd, a disciplined and versatile midfielder, has to put previous indiscretions behind him and try to make that defensive midfield position his own. With Brett Holman also present, Villa will be a hotly followed club by Australian EPL fans.
With all things going to plan, this could be a year of rebuilding for the Socceroos, with many more young players to stake a claim for Rio in 2014. Rhys Williams has been captaining Middlesbrough and is almost a Socceroos regular, Adam Federici is a star goal keeper and deserves his chance in the EPL with Reading, and Neil Kilkenny definitely has a future.
Let’s hope all our young brigade start to fulfil their potential and leave us with a core of stars come Rio 2014. Let the countdown begin.