The best of the rest is a squad made up of 23 Australian A-League players that weren’t a part of Graham Arnold’s Socceroos squad.
It’s a hypothetical exercise. Despite that, given the impact of COVID, Australia may have to pick local players for home games in friendlies, taking into account the sacrifices overseas players have to make. It was a difficult task as there is so much talent in the A-League.
Goalkeepers: Joe Gauci (Adelaide United), Daniel Margush (Western Sydney Wanderers), Ryan Scott (Western United).
Defenders: Jonathan Aspropotamitis (Perth Glory), Nathaniel Atkinson (Melbourne City), Aaron Calver (Western United), Jordan Elsey (Adelaide United), Scott Galloway (Melbourne City), Kye Rowles (Central Coast Mariners).
Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic (Central Coast Mariners – captain), Luke Brattan (Sydney FC – vice captain), Corey Brown (Brisbane Roar), Ramy Najjarine (Newcastle Jets), Dylan Pierias (Western United), Reno Piscopo (Wellington Phoenix), Daniel Stynes (Perth Glory), Callum Timmins (Perth Glory), Daniel Wilmering (Western Sydney Wanderers).
Strikers: Bruce Kamau (Western Sydney Wanderers), Aaron Parsons (Brisbane Roar), Jaushua Sotirio (Wellington Phoenix), Marco Tilio (Melbourne City), Dylan Wenzel-Halls (Brisbane Roar).
(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Starting 11: Joe Gauci (goalkeeper), Kye Rowles (centre back), Jordan Elsey (centre back), Aaron Calver (centre back), Dylan Pierias (right wing), Oliver Bozanic (centre midfielder – captain), Luke Brattan (centre midfielder – vice captain), Reno Piscopo (attacking midfielder), Corey Brown (left wing), Bruce Kamau (striker), Marco Tilio (striker).
Substitutes bench: Jonathan Aspropotamitis (centre back), Nathaniel Atkinson (right back/attacking winger), Scott Galloway (right back), Daniel Margush (goalkeeper), Aaron Parsons (striker), Jaushua Sotirio (winger/striker), Daniel Stynes (centre midfielder/attacking midfielder).
Other squad members: Ramy Najjarine (wing/attacking midfielder), Ryan Scott (goalkeeper), Callum Timmins (centre midfielder), Dylan Wenzel-Halls (striker) Daniel Wilmering (winger/wing back).
(Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Joe Gauci is an outstanding goalkeeper. He saved two penalties in his first game. In the ten games that he featured in he only conceded ten goals and made 30 saves. He was a big loss to Adelaide United as he suffered what proved to be a season-ending injury.
Jordan Elsey is calm and composed. He is an asset to any team, which he showed in season 2020-21 of the A-League. He was reliable and played a pivotal role in Adelaide United making the finals.
Aaron Calver is a prodigious talent. He is a centre back that’s naturally gifted. He can also play on the right if needed. He will be a big loss for Western United as he has left the team, signing a two-year deal with the Perth Glory.
Kye Rowles is a player with no fuss, who just does his job for the team. He was an important part of the Central Coast Mariners being a formidable outfit in season 2020-21.
Dylan Pierias was a revelation for Western United, finishing the season with an impressive tally of six goals and one assist. Despite that, he can get a lot better, as he has a lot of potential.
Oliver Bozanic was a bit of a barometer for the Central Coast Mariners. He led from the front and was a pivotal part of the Mariners having the season that they had. He was the recruit of the season in season 2020-21, without a shadow of a doubt.
Luke Brattan is a player that gets better with age. He may not have the statistical data to vindicate his ability, like goals and assists, but he is a no-fuss midfielder that leads by example.
(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Reno Piscopo is a player that can change the game. He plays an attacking role and is has a bit of x-factor about him. There’s no doubt that he is naturally talented.
Corey Brown is capable of playing left back or left winger, as he was utilised by Brisbane Roar coach Warren Moon. He finished season 2020-21 with eight assists, which indicates that he transformed his game to get the best out of himself.
Bruce Kamau is a player that gets the best out of his ability having scored nine goals as well as providing two assists. He improved his all round game and was very good in the final third.
Marco Tilio has been a revelation in season 2020-21 of the A-League. Every time he is on the pitch, he makes an impact. He is also an unselfish attacking player as the stats would suggest, having scored two goals and provided five assists prior to the A-League grand final.
Jonathan Aspropotamitis still has plenty of improvement in him.
Nathaniel Atkinson was arguably the best right back in the A-League in season 2020-21. He made many marauding runs forward and contributed by scoring a goal and providing two assists. He is capable of playing a more attacking role too.
Scott Galloway has been superb at right back, following an injury to Nathaniel Atkinson. Despite playing as a right back, Galloway has scored two goals and provided two assists prior to the grand final and has the capacity to start or come off the bench. Either way he has an impact.
Daniel Margush was a pivotal part of the Western Sydney Wanderers’ team, but was only unfortunate to be on the bench given the ability of Joe Gauci.
Aaron Parsons is a striker that’s naturally gifted. He scored three goals and provided two assists. He is a good impact player to have on the bench.
Jaushua Sotirio scored four goals for the Wellington Phoenix in season 2020-21. He is an impact player that can change the game coming off the bench. It wasn’t just his goals, as he changed the balance of play in plenty of games.
(Photo by Steven Markham/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Daniel Stynes is a game changer. When he is on the pitch, Perth Glory look a better team. He is a handy option to have on the bench.
Other squad members
Ramy Najjarine was one of the nominees for the A-League Young Footballer of the Year. That’s despite the fact that he had a tough time with injury. He has the ability to change the game, having provided three assists. He needs to improve on the defensive side of his game and be more clinical in the final third.
Ryan Scott played 19 games and made 84 saves, but unfortunately conceded 34 goals. He definitely has a bright future.
Callum Timmins is another part of the future for Perth Glory. There’s no doubt he has the talent to play for the Socceroos, which he showed when he scored his only goal of the season.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls was continually a threat for opposition defenders. There’s no doubt he has a lot of potential as he scored seven goals and provided three assists. He still needs to be more clinical.
Daniel Wilmering is a player that has immense ability. He has been plagued by injury, which is the reason he wasn’t on the bench. Despite being a wing back, he scored one goal and provided two assists for the Western Sydney Wanderers in season 2020-21.