On Wednesday, Holger Osieck announced the following 20-man squad for the international friendly with Scotland in Edinburgh on the 15th of August.
Keepers: Adam Federici, Mitch Langerak, Mark Schwarzer,
Defenders: David Carney, Jason Davidson, Chris Herd, Ryan McGowan, Lucas Neill, Sasa Ognenovski, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams
Midfielders: Mark Bresciano, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Neil Kilkenny, Carl Valeri,
Forwards: Alex Brosque, Robbie Kruse, Scott McDonald, Archie Thompson
Disappointingly, he’s got a few of his selections wrong.
As Mike Cockerill pointed out earlier in the week (http://www.smh.com.au/sport/football/osiecks-opportunity-to-bring-socceroos-out-of-time-warp-20120806-23qcl.html) – we are at a halfway point between two World Cups. This friendly needed to be used as a game where the fringe players, and potential WC 2014 members, got given a chance to prove their worth.
So how would The Blog FC approached selecting the squad?
First of all, lets rule out any Australian based players. Archie Thompson – that’s you. This is not a slight on Archie or the HAL – there are many worthy candidates plying their trade in the HAL. The reason for the omission is that most of the players haven’t kicked a ball in anger in over 5 months. They are all in the midst of pre-season. It’s best just to leave them be.
Second, let’s leave out some of the veterans. This doesn’t mean their Aussie careers are over, there is just little point to trot them out for a meaningless friendly.
Mark Schwarzer doesn’t need to prove himself. He is still our number one keeper. But if something were to happen between now and 2014 – and let’s face it, there is a distinct possibility that something will – we need to know how the alternative ‘keepers would fare against international competition.
It’s good that both Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell have been omitted. Cahill needs to establish himself at his new club, whilst Kewell still needs to find himself one.
Which brings us to Lucas Neill. Possibly Holger’s worst selection. Neill has been without a club nearly two and a half months. His match fitness will be poor, and there is nothing to be gained from having him in the squad.
Osieck has justified his inclusion by saying – “In his role as captain he is very important to me, he is very important the team.”
What a cop out. We should be using this friendly to see what other leaders will step up.
As for the other established Socceroos – Ognenovski, Wilkshire, Bresciano, Holman, Jedinak, Valeri, Brosque – leave them in. We need a core of experience; players to show the youngsters the ropes. Particularly Bresciano. He has just returned to the fold and another impressive performance will do wonders for his confidence leading into the next WC qualifiers.
So who comes in? Replacing Schwarzer we have Matt Ryan. One of our hottest prospects for the future and is currently in England trialling with Tottenham. That one is a no-brainer.
For Neill, Luke deVere should get a run. He is playing regularly for Gyeongham FC and certainly has the quality to be our long-term CB.
Finally, for Archie Thompson let’s give Richard Porta a run. To be honest I haven’t seen Porta play – but the statistics speak for themselves. Porta scored 17 times in 14 starts for Uruguayan champion Nacional last season. This sort of strike rate needs to be rewarded with, at the very least, an inclusion in the squad.
The Blog FC’s Squad:
Keepers: Adam Federici, Mitch Langerak, Matt Ryan
Defenders: David Carney, Jason Davidson, Chris Herd, Ryan McGowan, Sasa Ognenovski, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams, Luke deVere
Midfielders: Mark Bresciano, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Neil Kilkenny, Carl Valeri
Forwards: Alex Brosque, Robbie Kruse, Scott McDonald, Richard Porta