Friday, 25 April 2008

The Weekender: Where to for Nathan Burns?

The Weekender is a football article written every week by anyone. Today it's me. It covers Canberra football or football in it's broadest sense. It's aim is to ensure Canberrans can wake up on a Saturday to an article re:football written by one of their own.

With 17,000 players that's the least we deserve!

The Daily Telegraph's David Davutovic was on Total Football this week discussing Socceroo Nathan Burns rumoured July 1, $500,000 transfer to Norwegian side SK Brann Bergen.

"I think it would be a step-up." said Dave, and he wasn't joking!

Dave, didn’t you see Shane Stefanutto's one and only Socceroos performance last year after years in the Norwegian league!

And even Dave, if as you point out, Brann Bergen are in the Champions League, whoopee do.

They are in the Qualifying rounds and when they draw Liverpool or Arsenal is Nathan really going to improve after just two games chasing Lampard and Gerrard around the park. Then what back to the Norwegian league?

Burns has the potential to create a goal. More than former Sydney FC’s Ruben Zadkovich, more than ex-Newcastle Jets tricky Nicky Carle and more than flying winger and Socceroos full-back David Carney. All three, it should be noted, have gone to England to the Championship.

And goal creation is worth big dollars in any league in modern football.

So why is Burns off to Norway?

Has Graham Arnold and co suggested it? Can’t imagine they would think a couple of years in some Norwegian backwater is going to lift his game and profile higher than playing Olympic football, A-League and potentially the latter stages of the Asian Champions League.

Maybe Burns himself is under confident. He’s not that quick, a crucial ingredient for any player no matter how skilful in the modern game.

But neither is tricky Nicky and he’s making his fortune in England, or so it seems.

Burns certainly lacks consistency. But the injuries and travelling involved for Olyroo qualifiers hardly helped his cause last season.

But Burns can score, and Burns can influence a game much more than many A-League Australians.

Burns can win a game single-handedly. How many Australians in the three years of A-League football can do that?

So Burns should stay one more year.

Then forget Norway.

Head to Holland, the English Premiership, Germany or even Italy.

85% of players going overseas never move beyond the level of club they first move to. That must be a concern for Australian fans, if not for Burns.

Imagine staying in Norway for the rest of your football days. Why bother going?

Burns is one of our shining stars. He already has a Socceroos cap, Asian Champions League, and Olyroos experience.

He’s played Grand Finals, he’s won games.

He can get you out of your seat with a flick of the hips, a slide of a pass, a dribble. How many Aussies can do that in the A-League? With his style?

Australia needs the boy from Bathurst to improve, potentially be part of our World Cup campaign, and maybe burst onto the World Stage in 2010.

It’s only 2 years away. Will he burst on to the World Cup stage from Norway?

Maybe we've overrated Burns, but many of us who saw Mark Viduka, Brett Emerton, Vinnie Grella and Jason Culina running around the old NSL have a good measure.

With Viduka the goals told us everything. Emerton ran so hard no-one could ever stop him, or Culina. Grella, was not fast, but he played the ball years above his age. Burns is not fast, but he can create.

He’s not Harry Kewell, not at 17 or even 21.

But Burns may be another Tim Cahill. A late developer. Who, in Australian football, knew Timmy at 21? Kicking around for Millwall in the Eastend of London.

Five years later, he’s as well known in Australia as any other sportsman.

It seems Burns will head to Norway. If he does it would be a disastrous move for him, and for Australia.

Is Norway the best league one of our star Olyroos can get to? Carney, Carle, Michael Beauchamp, Dario Vidosic and Zadkovich suggests not.

And Adelaide United, and the FFA, should ask who is advising him.

Dave, from the Telegraph, it’s not you is it?

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