The quality of Australian football is on the rise

David McDaniel Roar Pro

By David McDaniel, David McDaniel is a Roar Pro

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    It has been quite a while since we have been able to get excited about the quality of Australian football players, but it looks like a few stars are emerging.

    Obviously, the first name on everyone’s lips should be Aaron Mooy (26). The Manchester City midfielder is starring on-loan for Huddersfield, who are now one game away from promotion to the Premier League.

    Mooy has a host of clubs who are interested in signing him and Pep Guardiola commented favourably on him recently. He will be playing in the EPL next season and it’s just a matter of knowing for which club.

    The next name to hit the headlines recently is Jackson Irvine (24). He has pretty much kept Burton Albion in the Championship single-handedly with his ten goals and he has also scored for the Socceroos, long may that continue.

    Both of these players have won their club’s Player of the Year awards so our midfield is looking very good. Add to that Tom Rogic (24), Mark Milligan (31), Mustafa Amini (24), Mile Jedinak (32) and Massimo Luongo (24) and we have an incredible amount of depth in midfield. With most of them being in their 20s we have longevity as well if they can stay fit.

    Our goalkeepers have always been world class when you look at names like Mark Bosnich and Mark Schwarzer. Today’s names are not that far behind.

    Matt Ryan (25) has been our number one for a while now. After signing for Valencia he went on a lean spell but is now doing very well in Belgium with Genk. Mitch Langerak (28) is playing regularly in Germany, for VfB Stuttgart who are in the second division.

    Then we have Brad Jones (35) who has been on fire for Feyenoord and helped them win their first title for 18 years. It’s safe to say our goalkeeper situation is well covered.

    At the pointy end we have relied on Superman aka Timmy Cahill to score goals for so long now it’s hard to know what we are going to do when he is gone. Tomi Juric (25) is looking good and would suit as a target man laying off to Jamie Maclaren or going himself. It sounds good on paper, although it would not suit our formation.

    Robbie Kruse (28) and Mathew Leckie(26) are good players on the wing and we have Brandon Borrello (21) and Tommy Oar (25) as well, who are capable backups with a lot of potential. There is definitely room for improvement but Juric and Maclaren are both young and will develop further.

    Add names such as Nathan Burns (28) and Apostolos Giannou (27) and there are plenty of players in the mix. Yet none have really set the world alight at international level yet.

    Defence is a bit of a worry, however. Brad Smith (23) is our number one left back but he is not getting much game time for Bournemouth and needs to address this. Alex Gersbach (20) is his biggest challenger, playing regularly for Rosenberg in the Norwegian Eliteserien and helping them win the Super Cup.

    Josh Risdon (24) has got a look in recently and performed well at right back. He is competing with Ryan McGowan (27), who is playing in China, and Milos Degenek (23), who is in Japan.

    In the centre we have Bailey Wright (24), playing for Bristol City in the championship, Trent Sainsbury (25), who is not getting much game time at Inter Milan, and Matt Spiranovic (28), who also plays in China. Degenek can play centre defence as well.

    While we may be relatively weak in defence and up front, the players are still young and have bright futures ahead of them.

    If the younger players can develop further, get good tough competition in quality leagues then we will have a very talented side who could well cause some upsets in the next few years.

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • May 19th 2017 @ 9:34am
      Jeff dustby said | May 19th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      I would hope so

    • May 19th 2017 @ 10:32am
      Caltex & SBS support Australian Football said | May 19th 2017 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      The coming friendly between SFC and Liverpool FC will be surprisingly close to the much amazement of those Eurosnobs, who think our A-league is not worth watching. We will hear the usual excuses that, the EPL teams are here on holiday. However, it will also show; how not far off the pace we really are. These games are good for Australian Football, it gives our boys a chance to show the Australian sporting public, they are at a good standard in comparison to other elite footballers around the world—the only real gap is in their pay-packets.

      • Roar Pro

        May 19th 2017 @ 12:54pm
        David McDaniel said | May 19th 2017 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

        Regardless of the result they will say it was not Liverpools full side and it is post season etc even while ignoring the Sydney will have similar issues.

        • May 19th 2017 @ 2:00pm
          Caltex & SBS support Australian Football said | May 19th 2017 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

          Yes David, you can bet on it.

      • May 19th 2017 @ 2:58pm
        Lionheart said | May 19th 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

        I couldn’t agree more with you C&S, I too like these games, but as pre-season matches when players have something to prove and new players are on show. This is post season, immediately post season for LFC who play their final game on Sunday (Monday morning our time), at home. It’s a big game for them too.
        So when do they arrive in Sydney for their game on Wednesday night? I would expect late Tuesday, no sooner, given it’s minimum of 30 hours travel with the time difference. I think I heard that Gerrard was going to play. I don’t think this game can be taken seriously tbh.

        • Roar Pro

          May 19th 2017 @ 3:27pm
          David McDaniel said | May 19th 2017 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

          Yes, Gerrard has put his hand up for it and will most likely play. They will have fatigue but a probably top 4 finish will have them in high spirits. It will be interesting to see who does play but Gerrard will efinitely be a draw card.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 3:49am
        Arto said | May 20th 2017 @ 3:49am | ! Report

        I fear it’ll be a case of ‘No Ninko, no party’, tbh…

      • May 20th 2017 @ 8:09am
        Footoverhand said | May 20th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        Pasquali got noticed from the last friendlies, a pitty FIFA are making his registration hard though, it’s still not settled!!

      • May 20th 2017 @ 5:44pm
        truther said | May 20th 2017 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

        You’re dreaming. Most 2nd division clubs in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Germany, Holland and England would have a good chance of winning the A-League. Even some 3rd division clubs. I streamed some 3rd division Bundesliga recently and I was surprised by the quality and amount of professionalism.

        • Roar Pro

          May 21st 2017 @ 2:44pm
          David McDaniel said | May 21st 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

          hmmm…not sure what your comment has to do with this thread. Sides on a post season tour friendly match never play their strongest sides and there have been so called shock results in the past.

          Still, I suppose, haters have to hate.

    • May 19th 2017 @ 1:38pm
      Footoverhand said | May 19th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

      Aziz Behich Always gets forgotten, plays every game for Bursaspoor (spelling) and the Turkish league isn’t bad, he must be doing something right.
      Smith shouldn’t get selected again until he is getting regular game time, he looked so underdone in his last match and was responsible for loosing possession often.
      But it’s great to see so many A League players starting to do well, just the other day Goodwin got 2 assists and 1 goal to keep Sparta Rotterdam in the Eredevisie, the first time in years they have stayed up after winning promotion for a successive year.
      Langerak team will be in the Bundesliga next season (most likely) and it’s great to see him playing a whole season for once.
      Lots to be positive about, even at home seeing the likes of Caletti, McGree, Tongyik and others starting to make their mark, it will be good watching Borrello in Germany, I think he is a great prospect.

      • Roar Pro

        May 19th 2017 @ 2:46pm
        David McDaniel said | May 19th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

        Hi Foot, thanks for the comment. There was always some that I was going to miss and Behich is definitely one. I agree about Smith, it shows Ange thinks there is a definite weakness at left back. I know I am a hard core Roar fan but I think Corey Brown might get a look in next year or so as he has really matured well.

        I am very impressed by the standard of the young players coming through now, our youth system is clearly working as they are really putting their hands up for starting spots now.

        This should be covered in another article and I may in the future, but the quality of the youth shows we do have the depth to expand the league, we just need the money!

        • May 20th 2017 @ 8:25am
          Footoverhand said | May 20th 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

          If Ange keeps his 3-5-2 formation, I would love to see Goodwin given a go.

          Agree and these current crop have only been involved partially in the curriculum, those that started at 8 would be 16 now, so lots to look forward to.
          I will enjoy reading your next writeup, kutgw.

          • Roar Pro

            May 20th 2017 @ 10:12am
            David McDaniel said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

            Thanks mate, I appreceiate it! I am really enjoying writing about football, the perfect gig. Maybe one day, I will get paid for it! 🙂

            • May 20th 2017 @ 10:31am
              Footoverhand said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

              Hahaha.
              Best of luck, I’d put a good word in, but it won’t mean much.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 19th 2017 @ 8:27pm
      Grobbelaar said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

      Can anyone fill us in on how much game time sainsbury got at inter?

      • Roar Pro

        May 20th 2017 @ 6:40am
        David McDaniel said | May 20th 2017 @ 6:40am | ! Report

        None, it was certainly a strange move. He is a good player but I think that was a step too far. Sure, he will learn a hell of a lot there but he needs to get game time if he wants to push hard for a starting spot for Australia.

        • May 20th 2017 @ 8:17am
          Footoverhand said | May 20th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

          When the CSL changed their foreigner rules, Jiangsung Sunig saw him as surplus. The two clubs have the same owner, so he just got palmed off to Inter to clear the books.

    • May 20th 2017 @ 2:40am
      Footoverhand said | May 20th 2017 @ 2:40am | ! Report

      Sainsbury hasn’t gotten any game time, he is on the bench, but the Italian league has a large bench. Last week a young centre back got subbed on instead of him, so prospects aren’t looking good.

      • May 20th 2017 @ 3:51am
        Arto said | May 20th 2017 @ 3:51am | ! Report

        Plus they just fired their Coach… AGAIN (2nd time this season) so it’s more likely this is a ‘work experience’ period for Sainsbury and he’ll need to sort out his future again in July…

        • May 20th 2017 @ 8:29am
          Footoverhand said | May 20th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

          Maybe back to Holland again, or Germany would be good.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 20th 2017 @ 7:24am
        Grobbelaar said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:24am | ! Report

        Thanks for the update, and there’s less chance to play reserve grade football in Italy

    • Roar Pro

      May 20th 2017 @ 8:10am
      The Doc said | May 20th 2017 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      Nice read David. I would have to disagree slightly with you though. The midfield looks ok with Rogic, Mooy, Irvine, Lungo, amini but Jedinak/milligan are heading towards the end of their careers.
      Kruse and Leckie look ok but their end product has been poor for some time. We have real problems at striker – relying on Juric is dicey. I am hoping Jamie maclaren (who just signed with Darmstadt in German second tier) will be a good striker for australia, Adam taggart is the other one.
      Central Defence looks ok but the right/left back positions are threadbare. Brad smith was the only non GK aussie player in the EPL this season and he hardly saw any game time.
      Perhaps its memory bias but long time since so few aussies graced the EPL. Hoping this will change if Huddersfield gain promotion and Rogic signs in the off season (if he can get healthy).

      • May 20th 2017 @ 8:38am
        Footoverhand said | May 20th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        I could see Rogic playing striker, could be something that needs considering. If we consider Anges’ latest formation, I would like to see something like this, especially if Hertha Berlin or Koln sign Leckie to be a wingback as they have stated.
        GK usual suspects, but Jones should be in the mix to reward for such a great season.
        Leckie – Sainsbury – Jedi – Wright/Milligan – Goodwin
        Luongo – Mooy
        Irvine
        Rogic – Juric

        • May 20th 2017 @ 5:40pm
          Chris said | May 20th 2017 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

          Rogic I think would struggle at striker due to his frailness. They’d hammer him at the top of the line.
          Definitely has the skill and finishing though. Maybe worth a try?

      • Roar Pro

        May 20th 2017 @ 10:17am
        David McDaniel said | May 20th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

        Hi Doc, thanks for the nice comment. Jedinak and Milligan offer excpereince for the younger guys comeing through, whic Iis why I added them in there. They can be backups if required. I too am worried about our flanks but if we stick with the 3-5-2 and have 3 solid, quick defenders we should be able to cover the wings.
        Kruse and Leckie ado need a better end product so homefully those pushing them will improve that.
        Juric is aulity but needs more consistent. If he can be the target man for Maclaren to run off it will take the pressure off him and suit Maclaren perfectly.

        But yes, Midfield and Goal look good but the rest need some imrpovement.

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