Lack of Aussies playing regular football overseas a cause for concern

andresilva10 Roar Pro

By andresilva10, andresilva10 is a Roar Pro

 , , ,

125 Have your say

    With the new European season already underway, its sad to see that there are very few Australians starting for big clubs across the top leagues around the world, which is alarming for football in this country going forward.

    We have to face reality and accept that the youth systems in academies across the country are not well run compared to previous eras.

    The era that I am particularly referring to is our 2006 ‘golden generation’, which comprised many stars that were playing at the highest level for some of the biggest clubs across Europe’s top five leagues.

    It’s actually quite unbelievable to compare that generation to the current one we have at our disposal.

    The likes of Harry Kewell winning the Champions League with Liverpool, Tim Cahill playing an important role at Everton, Mark Viduka steamrolling the Premier League with Leeds and Newcastle, Mark Schwarzer maintaining a starting spot at Middlesborough, and Lucas Neill and Craig Moore playing key roles for Blackburn and Newcastle were all playing regular football in England.

    Scott Chipperfield was starring for FC Basel, John Aloisi played in Spain, midfielders Vince Grella and Mark Bresciano made names for themselves in Italy and Jason Culina was instrumental in Holland for PSV Eindhoven.

    They all gave the Socceroos hope of achieving the impossible.

    These players are not just names that were added to club team sheets to fill the numbers; they all played consistent football and performed at their best with the help of great coaching.

    Interestingly, only three players out of the 23-man shortlist in 2006 were playing in the A-League. If we compare that to the upcoming World Cup, around 8 tot 10 A-League players have a chance of making the squad.

    This is the main problem I have with this current group of players. The A-League should be a stepping stone to develop young players, giving them some experience to then challenge themselves at some of the world’s biggest clubs. There are too many players who are staying in Australia for too long, which is harming their growth.

    (Image: AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    To be fair to some players, they are putting themselves out there and wanting to test themselves among the best – the only problem is that they aren’t playing football on a regular basis. Brad Smith, Mitchell Langerak, Trent Sainsbury, Chris Ikonomidis and Terry Antonis are examples of this.

    The two players who can be compared to the ‘golden generation’ are Tom Rogic and Aaron Mooy. Rogic has performed exceptionally well under Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic and has cemented a starting spot. Going forward he is going to be playing Champions League football. The latter will carry Huddersfield Town in England’s top flight, as he was their best player on their way to promotion.

    Australia needs to produce more players like this, but on the other side of the coin they must be careful how they nurture them – as Daniel De Silva will tell you, that development takes time and patience.

    In 2010, before World cup selection, former coach Pim Verbeek put a rule in place that meant no player would be selected unless they played football overseas rather than in the A-League. Although I disagreed with it to a degree, I understood his thought process in trying to get players to the level of the likes of Kewell and Cahill.

    It would make them only stronger as players – but that doesn’t mean I think the A-League isn’t important for developing the younger players.

    I should add that the explosion of money in China is not helping the development of Australians. Players like as Robbie Kruse, Ryan McGowan and Trent Sainsbury might be doing more for their bank accounts than their football, which is also a big concern.

    If Australia wants to win a World Cup down the line, producing top players and moving them on to the best leagues in Europe is the main priority. This will only happen through strong investments in grassroots programs and coaches in the A-League giving youth a chance.

    This country is capable of so much success, but the time is now to create our new golden generation.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (125)

    • August 13th 2017 @ 9:06am
      Waz said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

      Sorry but I don’t think you’ve any idea what you’re talking about. The argument is also confused by the fact you’re comparing the full careers of “the golden generation” with a generation that’s in their mid to early 20’s. that’s an unfair comparison.

      The bit that really does my head in is “We have to face reality and accept that the youth systems in academies across the country are not well run compared to previous eras” … err, have you any idea what occurred in previous eras? Again this is a comparison that is fraught with danger, if FIFA17 had been around in the golden days we probably wouldn’t have heard of most of the generation we speak of; kids are playing less today but those that are playing are now doing it in a structured junior club program as opposed to the tough n tumble of regular park football.

      We are producing better players than ever before it’s just the rest of the world has opened a gap that we’re struggling to accept.

      • Roar Pro

        August 13th 2017 @ 9:37am
        andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        “We are producing better players than ever before”…

        Totally disagree with this. Australia’s development of players has fallen dramatically over the past few years. Look at the Olyroos’ failure to qualify for two consecutive Olympics or the U17 & U21’s lack of progression in major tournaments.

        If we’re developing good players, then why are only two Aussies playing in England, two Aussies playing in Germany, zero playing in Italy, France and Spain ?

        • August 13th 2017 @ 9:51am
          Nemesis said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

          “Totally disagree with this. ”

          How would you know, Christian. You wouldn’t have been born when Harry & Viduka were at their peak in England.

          • Roar Pro

            August 13th 2017 @ 4:10pm
            andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

            Sorry that I’m not allowed to disagree…

            • August 13th 2017 @ 5:09pm
              platypusFC said | August 13th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

              You are allowed to disagree.

              But only if you present arguments which make sense. Which you never do.

              Because you realise you never had any arguments to begin with.

              I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.

              • Roar Pro

                August 13th 2017 @ 5:13pm
                andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                I asked waz why he thought Australia is producing better players than ever before.
                I said I disagreed and backed up my argument by highlighting the olyroos’ failure to qualify for two consecutive Olympics, our poor showings at major youth level tournaments and on top of that, our senior team are 3rd in World Cup qualifying and are in danger of missing out…

              • August 13th 2017 @ 6:05pm
                Waz said | August 13th 2017 @ 6:05pm | ! Report


                The comparison between past Olyroo performances and current ones is another comparison that is fraught with difficulty. You’d need to know the relative development strategies of past/current coaches, you’d need some assessment of the relative strengths of current/past opponents. And indeed what their individual strategies for development are/were – some countries for example concentrate on qualification for the Olympics and a possible medal over higher (full) age groups; a useful indicator here is the age of players at various age groups, the higher it is and where there is a consistency in higher age eg 23 year olds rather than a spread, then the focus is often on results at the expense of development. None of this analysis or research appears in your article. This is such a big topic and you’ve not done it credit …

              • August 15th 2017 @ 2:53pm
                Evan Askew said | August 15th 2017 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                If I recall Correctly the Olyroos after Barcelona 92 had to qualify through Oceania whereas the current generation of Olyroos have to qualify through a much tougher Asian confederation. The 92 Olyroos also had to qualify through Oceania before playing a 2 legged qualifier against Holland which we won on away goals.

                So to start with the qualification path, 92 aside, was much easier. And football has become way more competitive with European clubs drawing their talent from around the world. Go On Wikipedia and look at the clubs that Australians played for in that era, particularly in the late 80s and early 90s. I would guarantee you that most of those clubs side had players predominantly from their own country with anywhere from 3 players to maybe 1/3 of the squad from different coutnries.

        • August 13th 2017 @ 10:33am
          Waz said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          Times have moved on Cristian and there’s so many variables you haven’t considered; and you have no actual basis for the statements you’ve made and you’re merely regurgitating old articles and not done any analysis. You might as well say “all cats have four legs and a tail therefore all dogs must be cats” …it’s a very complex subject that is not well served by articles like this.

          • August 13th 2017 @ 10:45am
            platypusFC said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

            Your standard weekly rubbish delivered to you by Christian.

          • Roar Pro

            August 13th 2017 @ 4:13pm
            andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

            So how are we producing better players than ever before Waz??

            We’re 3rd in our World Cup qualifying group and are in danger of missing out.
            If we’re “producing better players than ever before” then why is that the case? We should be steamrolling our group, but no.
            So don’t give me that garbage and act like everything is fine, because it’s not

            • Roar Pro

              August 13th 2017 @ 4:21pm
              David McDaniel said | August 13th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

              3rd in a tough group where if we get 4 points from our last 2 games, including a home game against Thailand, we will qualify.

              I don’t see how that’s a problem. the extra competition we are having is making us stronger, as opposed to 1 off games every 4 years against a South American team.

            • August 13th 2017 @ 4:55pm
              platypusFC said | August 13th 2017 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

              “We should be steamrolling our group, but no.”

              Are you serious? We should be steamrolling our opponents?

              You clearly have NO IDEA about Asian football. Maybe pay credit to our opponents? Maybe Asian football is improving dramatically?

              Why should be we destroying our group? Why? Tell me a reason? Since when have we dominated Asia?

              You know the golden generation you are obsessed with did not even make it to the semi finals of the Asian Cup in 2007.

              Stop mouthing off at everyone when you are a deluded maniac!

              • Roar Pro

                August 13th 2017 @ 5:16pm
                andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

                Asia has been very strong over the years, but teams such as Japan are not the same as what they used to be. If we’ve been “producing better players than ever before” then Saudi Arabia should never be ahead of us.
                Our draw against Thailand happened because of the lack of players playing first team football in the starting XI for that game

            • August 13th 2017 @ 5:07pm
              platypusFC said | August 13th 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

              “So how are we producing better players than ever before Waz??”

              2007 Asian Cup – Eliminated in the quarter finals
              Schwarzer, Neill, Cahill, Culina, Grella, Kewell, Bresciano and Emerton

              2015 Asian Cup – Champions

              With your stupid logic then this generation are better. But of course, like Waz mentioned there are too many variables which your pea-sized brain cannot comprehend.

              • Roar Pro

                August 13th 2017 @ 5:19pm
                andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

                Great, so you’re comparing both generations through one tournament.
                The overall standard in Asia has decreased over the years, Japan are a perfect example of that

              • August 13th 2017 @ 5:28pm
                platypusFC said | August 13th 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

                How has the quality of Asia declined????????

                “Japan are a perfect example of that”

                Please explain.

                If I remember Japan have beaten France and Belgium in Paris and Brussels inside the last 3 years.

              • Roar Pro

                August 13th 2017 @ 5:50pm
                andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

                “If I remember Japan have beaten France and Belgium inside the last 3 years”

                What’s that? A friendly? How cute

              • August 13th 2017 @ 7:08pm
                Nemesis said | August 13th 2017 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

                Christian, you have an immature view of football & an unsophisticated understanding of the world.

                This is not a criticism since you are immature & unsophisticated so you are what you are.

                I’m glad you’ve got a strong interest in football & writing, but I find your articles banal & your debating nonsensical.

                Italy went to WC2010 as world champions. They were embarrassed in the Group Stages & finished bottom of their Group – below the mighty football superpowers of: Paraguay, Slovakia & New Zealand.

                Only an immature & unsophisticated analyst would’ve made any blanket statements about the development of Italian football.

                As an Australian football fan I know we have some areas of concern but, having followed Australian football for around 50 years, I know that we are playing consistently better football than ever in the past 50 years.

                However, someone who is still a teenager won’t understand this. In 40 years, I hope you will be a better football analyst.

              • Roar Pro

                August 13th 2017 @ 7:16pm
                andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

                Well as an Italy supporter, Italian football’s development was being harmed. That 2010 WC squad was full of old players as Lippi didn’t have enough youth to choose from. Since then, Serie A has learnt from that mistake and are putting in all their effort into youth which is helping the national team.

                I never said Australian football has been horrible recently and of course it is better than the last 50 yeas, but in order to take the next step and progress deep into a World Cup, the majority of players can’t be playing in the A-league forever and must find find regular football overseas

      • August 13th 2017 @ 10:11pm
        Ruudolfson said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

        I spoke to a friend who has a kid involved with these SAP programs and told me with all football training and games they only play for about 4 to 5 months a year, contrast to the rest of the world where they play and train, structured and un-structured year around!

        A big difference but one of many reasons why Australia doesnt produce top class players like it once did.

        Our players dont play enough football!

      • August 13th 2017 @ 10:14pm
        Ruudolfson said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:14pm | ! Report

        Im sorry Waz i have to disagree with you on that we are producing better players, not many of the current and former coaches and players would agree with this point.

        Check out the Fox Football podcasts Adam Peacock put out, great interviews with Ned Zelic, Ron Smith, Ian Crook and Tony Vidmar…many of the points sound quite reflective of the current problems we have.

        • Roar Pro

          August 13th 2017 @ 10:34pm
          andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

          Waz is always right, you can’t disagree with him!

    • August 13th 2017 @ 9:13am
      Fadida said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      This has been done to death a thousand times. The landscape has changed. Footballers from all over the world flood the market now. There is more competition to play in the top leagues.

      Even so have Mooy and Ryan in the EPL. Rogic in Scotland, Leckie in Germany. We have plenty of players in the championship, Dutch, Belgian, German second tier. Most of the so called golden generation were small players at smallish clubs, probably Viduka, Kewell the exceptions. Are osasuna or Coventry better than Huddersfield? Basle?

      The current group are still ascending, a few more may will make the breakthrough.

      • Roar Pro

        August 13th 2017 @ 9:33am
        andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        Yes but besides Ryan and Mooy, no one is starting regularly in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France’s top division.
        The majority of the 06 squad played regular football in the top flight and not these second and third division teams.
        That’s the difference

        • August 13th 2017 @ 10:22am
          platypusFC said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

          Classic Christian Montegan logic of reasoning.

          Maybe it’s because the rest of the world is improving dramatically in producing quality of footballers?

          Look at playing roster of clubs across Europe and not just the “big ones”.
          Belgium. Holland. Austria. Portugal. Switzerland. Turkey. Poland. All these clubs have a players from all over the world. Think back to the golden generation. These same clubs would have nowhere near as diverse players simply because the world was a much bigger place back then. Australians had a massive advantage in that they were fluent English speakers and the cultural connections with England made it easier.

          You mention Culina at PSV Eindhoven. Currently Brad Jones, Adjin Hrustic and Craig Goodwin are doing quite well in Holland.

        • August 15th 2017 @ 2:57pm
          Evan Askew said | August 15th 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

          We’ll see in the Bundesliga this coming season. It will be very likely that both Leckie and Langaeraak will be starting for their clubs in the bundesliga.

    • August 13th 2017 @ 9:50am
      Redondo said | August 13th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      Christian – check out

      There are around 120 Aussies under 25 currently playing overseas, mostly in European leagues.

      Many are playing for youth teams or simply not playing at all. When Gombau recently assembled an U23 squad of overseas players (primarily) most of them were not playing regularly for their teams.

      Quite a few of those who have done as you suggest might be better off actually playing and maturing in the A-League.
      We’d need an A-League div 2 to cater for those who stay at home but that’s a different issue.

    • August 13th 2017 @ 10:05am
      alexandriablues said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:05am | ! Report

      Good morning. You state the quality of Australian footballers has reduced dramatically compared to the previous generation based on the reduced number of Australians playing in top tier clubs in Europe?

      You have no clue what you are talking about.

      “If we’re developing good players, then why are only two Aussies playing in England, two Aussies playing in Germany, zero playing in Italy, France and Spain ?”

      The number of top tier European leagues has not increased in the last 20 years. Germany, Spain, England, Italy and France. That will never change in the near future.

      But the scouting network of each European club and the number of competitive footballing nations has increased. That is fact. Scouts are swarming all over Africa and South America. Asian football has also improved to the point where Korean and Japanese footballers are being extensively scouted.

      So in conclusion, the number of playing spots in Europe has not changed. But the scouting and number of improving footballing nations has increased.

      So one would think the quality of every footballing nation is going up and becoming more competitive. Instead of Australian footballers declining in quality.

    • Roar Guru

      August 13th 2017 @ 10:07am
      Shane Jones said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

      Hey Christian, Langerak played pretty much the whole season for Stuttgart last season and was actually selected for his form over Ryan for the Socceroos because he wasn’t getting game time.

      He definitely isn’t one that isn’t sitting on the bench.

    • August 13th 2017 @ 10:07am
      alexandriablues said | August 13th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

      “Going forward he is going to be playing Champions League football.”

      Celtic will be playing two legs against Astana of Kazakhstan before qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League.

      • Roar Pro

        August 13th 2017 @ 4:16pm
        andresilva10 said | August 13th 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

        At least he’ll have a chance to play Champions league football unlike any other Aussie

        • August 13th 2017 @ 4:30pm
          alexandriablues said | August 13th 2017 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

          So why did you not write he has a chance of playing Champions League football. Celtic may not even make it to the group stage yet. They have to beat Astana.

    , , ,