The A-League team of Aussies that could beat the Socceroos (one day)

Stuart Thomas Columnist

By Stuart Thomas, Stuart Thomas is a Roar Expert

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    The ‘I was made in the A-League’ commercials are fantastic for two reasons.

    One, they are a slick presentation of some important players in our Socceroos set up and secondly, they remind us all of the pride we should feel, knowing that our local structures are capable of producing quality players.

    Aaron Mooy’s recent success and promotion to the Premier League should resonate with all Australian football fans. His football journey is a local one, similar to those of Tim Cahill, Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell whose basic skillsets were born on our shores.

    Sure, recent history hasn’t seen quite the same number of locally bred talent garner world football’s interest as the players of the ‘golden generation’ did, however, this is hopefully a cyclical phenomena.

    As the Socceroos dominate the Australian football consciousness at present and the plight of the manager steals away headlines from the vital upcoming clash with Honduras, young A-League talents dream of staking their claim on future national team honours.

    I have thrown together a team that I would love to see have a crack at the Socceroos.

    Are they a little underrated, raw and made to look more impressive in our league than perhaps they really are? Or is Ange Postecoglou underestimating their talent and through their non-selection, denying them a chance to grow, learn and improve?

    Either way, I would love to see them play the national team and some comparisons drawn.

    1. Goalkeeper – Paul Izzo (Adelaide United)
    The 22-year-old Adelaide custodian is building a reputation as one of Australia’s best young ‘keepers. After impressing in his forty-two matches with the Central Coast, Izzo has returned home hoping to become the Adelaide number one.

    Capped thirty times at restricted age level for his country, he must surely be a candidate for the national set-up moving forward.

    2. Right-back – Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory)
    The Kenyan born defender impressed enough people with his 2015-16 performances for the Victory that he ventured abroad. A disappointing year on loan which ultimately produced five appearances in Holland, saw Deng return to Melbourne. While raw, there are signs to suggest that if his poise and decision making improve enough to match his natural athletic ability, he could develop into a valuable asset for the Socceroos in the future.

    3. Centre-back – Luke DeVere (Brisbane Roar)
    While DeVere is a little older than many members of this squad, at twenty-seven, he still has much to offer. A tall intimidating figure with eleven junior caps for Australia and one full international friendly against Germany, his talent has been recognised previously. Others have taken hold of his position in the current team, yet DeVere would and still may, stand up well if given another chance in international football.

    4. Centre-back – Jason Geria (Melbourne Victory)
    While I am playing Geria out of position here, the twenty-four year old deserves a spot in this team of potential Socceroos. Much like his ally Deng, his physical prowess will serve him well. His senior debut came in a friendly against Greece in 2016 and indicated his presence on the radar of the powers at be.

    Twenty-eight caps at junior level further highlight his well respected pedigree.

    5. Left-back – Josh Brillante (Sydney FC)
    With significant injuries in the Sydney FC defence during their Championship season of 2016/17, Brillante was forced to cover defensive positions rather than his usual holding spot in the mid-field. He did it with aplomb and his development as a footballer has been consistent.

    Despite a somewhat disappointing time in Italy, the 24-year-old has achieved five senior caps on top of his twenty-eight at junior level yet fell from favour during his time overseas. His talent suggests there may be another chance in the future.

    6. Mid-field – Trent Buhagiar (Central Coast Mariners)
    The youngest member of this squad at nineteen, Buhagiar continues to impress on the Central Coast. A true local boy, he has already been capped twice at under 23 level for Australia and one would think that an overseas venture might lay ahead at some stage for a player blessed with his skill and speed.

    7. Mid-field – Brandon O’Neill (Sydney FC)
    Something of an unsung hero at Sydney FC and one of its most reliable workers in the midfield. Still only twenty-three, O’Neill possesses a wonderful dead-ball strike and rarely appears flustered in the melee that the centre of the park can often become.

    With two caps for the Olyroos, he is undoubtedly one of the players that is expected to take further steps forward as he matures. Another player most likely to end up overseas at some point.

    8. Mid-field – Luke Brattan (Melbourne City)
    I love watching Luke Brattan play, as he approaches the game with a ferocious intensity that all busy footballers do.

    Luke Brattan tussles for the ball for Brisbane Roar (Photo: AAP)

    (Photo: AAP)

    While a little more experienced than some of the other members of this bunch, the attention he drew from Manchester City after his time in Brisbane and his eventual purchase, clearly depicts the talent he possesses.

    Capped eight times at under 20 level, Brattan has been called up to the senior squad on one occasion for the qualifier against Bangladesh. There is potential for future caps.

    9. Forward – Peter Skapetis (Brisbane Roar)
    Still only twenty-two, the one thing Skapetis needs is a good block of football at a high level to showcase his talents. Still a bit untested, it will be interesting to see how much the young Roar recruit can achieve in a team that needs goal production this season. His age restricted junior representation for Australia suggests he is a true goal scorer and the biggest challenge might be his dual citizenship status.

    10. Forward – Andrew Nabbout (Newcastle Jets)
    Another one of my favourites, Nabbout has developed his game immensely from his days at Melbourne Victory where his chances were restricted.

    The twenty-four year old spent a season in Malaysia before returning to Australia and he looks to have found a happy home in Newcastle.

    Blessed with a superb work ethic, Nabbout has set his sights on national selection and with more development and a refreshed Newcastle roster aiding his claims, the famous gold shirt is not beyond this young man.

    11. Forward – Adam Taggart (Perth Glory)
    Like both Nabbout and Brattan, watching Taggart is a personal favourite hobby of mine. Unfortunately, he is another Australian whose overseas adventures and injuries have not permitted consistent football and the chance to express his true talent.

    Socceroos and Fulham FC striker Adam Taggart.

    (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

    Not yet twenty-five, Taggart is a ‘goal every other game’ man for the Glory and despite playing seven times for the Socceroos early in his career, potentially before being ready, the ship may not have sailed on his international career.

    Notes
    Both Lawrence Thomas and Nick Fitzgerald were two others who would fit into this collection of players. Both twenty-five and capped at the junior levels, Thomas and Fitzgerald’s contributions to their team’s fortunes could still see them in the frame for future national honours.

    A wonderful collection of A-League players I am sure you will agree and an interesting clash against the Socceroos it would be.

    A chance for these youngsters and fringe players to appear either inferior to the current squad or raise questions about their future inclusion.

    Stuart Thomas
    Stuart Thomas

    Stuart Thomas is a sports writer and educator who made the jump from Roar Guru to Expert in 2017. An ex-trainee professional golfer, his sporting passions are broad with particular interests in football, AFL and rugby league. His love of sport is only matched by his passion for gardening and self-sustainability. Follow him on Twitter @stuartthomas72.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • October 13th 2017 @ 8:02am
      Nemesis said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      Some good names in there Stuart and, if you check out the u23 team that recently qualified for the Asian Championships that will double as the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics, you’ll notice a lot of those name there.

      Also, two of the best young Aussie Central Defenders right now are WSW’s Aspro & Tongyik at MelbCity. I’d have Jason Geria at RB & Thomas Deng at Central Defence; you have them the other way around.

      Then we have Bruce Kamau showing signs in R1 that he’s focused this season. And Dimi Petratos can be amongst the best in ALeague if he pushes to extract the optimum from his portfolio of technical skills.

      Watch out for these 3 names this season:

      Jason Caletti
      Jake Brimmer
      Danny DeSilva

      • Columnist

        October 13th 2017 @ 8:24am
        Stuart Thomas said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        I like DeSilva. Haven’t seen much of Brimmer yet. Kamau is a funny one for me. Still unconvinced, yet, at times, looks the goods.

    • October 13th 2017 @ 8:02am
      Fadida said | October 13th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      You jest surely? Socceroos 5-0, providing we can stop hitting the post

      • Roar Guru

        October 13th 2017 @ 9:06am
        Ben of Phnom Penh said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        You suggesting a clean sheet, Fad?

        • October 13th 2017 @ 12:17pm
          Fadida said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

          Ha! I’mm assuming we’ll have a new coach by then Ben

    • October 13th 2017 @ 9:39am
      PEDRO said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      When does the season start?

      • October 13th 2017 @ 9:53am
        Nemesis said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        A few weeks after Christmas.

    • October 13th 2017 @ 10:28am
      Lionheart said | October 13th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      I rate Corey Brown at left back, certainly worth considering in the squad. You can’t overlook Brandon Borrello either, starting to get some time now for FCK in Bundesliga 2. There’s a young forward breaking into the Roar squad too, well worth watching, Rahmat Akbari, who was selected for the Joeys (U17) as a 15 year and is still just 17 (came on late in R1). And Joe Caletti of course, needs to keep improving. All Roar, apologies but I know them best.

      • October 13th 2017 @ 1:37pm
        Nemesis said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

        I think Stuart was confining himself to ALeague players only.

        Lots of young talent playing club football o/s who will be in the mix over the next 4 years: Amini, Mabil, Pasquali, Yeboah, Jeggo, McGree, Stambolziev, Ikonomides, etc. etc.

        We’ll get a good look a the u19 lads when next month in the AFC u19 Quals..

    • October 13th 2017 @ 12:17pm
      Nikola said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

      Hi Stuart. I cannot disagree more with your line-up, minus a few names. Trent Buhagiar? How many times have you watched him play?
      I’d love to statistically see how many matches Josh Brillante played in defence for Sydney FC last season or even more so at LB.
      DeVere should be in the squad now but is already lacking pace, something he will lose more of as he ages.
      It’s so very unrealistic this squad.

      • Columnist

        October 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm
        Stuart Thomas said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        Buhagier is nineteen, let’s give him time. Brillante filled in when needed at a few moments and is certainly not an out and out defender, the balance is nowhere near perfect, more of a squad of future prospects. Only three stand out defenders and five mids. In an emergency Brillante would be the most logical to move back.

        Just to get people thinking about the next five years and those who might be ‘made in the A-League’.

        • October 13th 2017 @ 6:56pm
          Kangajets said | October 13th 2017 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

          I’d throw Steve ugarchovic from Newcastle jets in the team

    • October 13th 2017 @ 3:39pm
      Nemesis said | October 13th 2017 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

      New streaming arrangement will allow anyone outside AUS to watch ALeague LIVE or On Demand for a cost of €10/mth (approx $15)

      This is the website (geo blocked in AUS)
      https://www.oz.com/a-league

      Price is perfect, shame it’s not for Aussie residents but it’s heading in the right direction
      ———-

      BREAKING NEWS

      “The Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season will be available to be viewed in every country of the world after the finalisation of a number of new agreements by Football Federation Australia (FFA) and its international rights partner IMG.”

      Full story: https://www.a-league.com.au/news/hyundai-a-league-201718-season-goes-truly-global

      • October 14th 2017 @ 8:15am
        Buddy said | October 14th 2017 @ 8:15am | ! Report

        Nem, Geoblocking is a total waste of time and energy as it is so easy to circumvent without having to be particularly tech savvy. You have to understand a few descriptions and be able to look in the right places to change settings. Right now, I can’t look at videos on the roar on my tablet as I have it set for TV from europe but it takes less than a minute to switch back and it is so easy towatch stuff from all across the globe.

        • October 14th 2017 @ 8:20am
          Nemesis said | October 14th 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

          Yes, I’ve heard you can set up VPN or use Tor Browser to circumvent Geoblocking, but I’ve yet to try it. I read that the internet connection slows down considerably with VPN & Tor. Is this true, or just a complete myth? What’s the method you use?

          • October 14th 2017 @ 8:54am
            Buddy said | October 14th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

            It will sometimes slow down due to the pipeline between Aus and rest of the world but if you have nbn 100/40 and are receiving anything close to it you don’t really suffer and lag or breakdowns to note. I use a mixture of methods all available for a fairly low monthly or annual fee. Sometimes I leave the main router altered but that means everyone is theoretically in a different zone so as I often just change the DNS on my ipad and then either watch or download from the region I’m interested in. I recall the days when you bought a dvd player and found it restricted to zone 2 and 4. It took about 15 minutes to find the codes and enter it to open it up globally, geoblocking is pretty similar really. We live in a “global village” to use a well worn cliche and even in China, they are nowhere near as censored as the government would have you believe although there are plenty of people willing to take payment for “dobbing” from what I am told!

            • October 14th 2017 @ 9:04am
              Nemesis said | October 14th 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

              Appreciate the info, Buddy. Thank you. I’ll look into it. Might give this overseas platform a try for ALeague & if it works well it’s the exact solution I’m after.

              I don’t want all the extra crap that’s bundled in when I subscribe to Foxtel Now.
              I don’t even want all the extra crap that’s bundled into the FoxSports package (although beIN is useful for the occasional Bundesliga/LaLiga/UCL matches)

              All I really want is to watch ALeague on a reliable, stable platform.

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