Michael Lynch - a man who's family is from the far end of the Curragh (Irish Racecourse) we're just a bit closer, but further away. Got it?
Lynchy is a much respected Aussie footy writer - but on his player development focus written in the Age I reckon he has a couple of points wrong or at least is unaware of what is coming.
Mick writes in The Age:
There is a strong argument that the Institute of Sport system should be scrapped.
I don't think there is much of an argument, and if there is let's hear it - especially now the players are coming in at 15 in preparation for the U17 Aussie team ie much younger than in Viduka's day.
Herding the elite youngsters onto a campus in Canberra may help with their nutrition and ensure they all attend tactical lectures, but it doesn't give them the tough grounding they need to succeed in this the most cutthroat of global sports.
Again - it worked for Mark Viduka, Kevin Muscat, Craig Moore, Brett Emerton, Vinny Grella, Marco Bresciano, Carl Valeri, Brett Holman and a whole heap more
Again there are no 18 year olds at the AIS - they are now taken in at 15/16 so not sure where Mick is heading with this one - it's a different intake to Viduka's day.
Scrap the National Youth League and get all the A-League teams to field youth teams in their elite state competitions. For 18-year-olds playing week in and week out against seasoned semi professionals - men earning up to $1000 a week and more - in the Victorian Premier League would be far more beneficial than playing against their own age group.
Think the proposal is that AIS play in ACT Premier League AND A-League Youth league and all A-League Youth sides play in their local State Premier League - Viduka could do it at 17 - he was an exception the current mob are 15/16 and could meet Kevin Muscat!
History teaches us that the most successful Socceroos are the ones who are good enough to play first-team football early in life. Mark Viduka was an NSL star at 17. Harry Kewell was playing in the premiership at 18. Brett Emerton was a big-name NSL star as a teenager … the list of those who, even as boys, were better than the men they played against, goes on.
Yes but Mick - Matt Mckay and Tim Cahill are also very successful and in Cahill's case close to the two above. So history tells us a lot but not everything.
FFA increasing the games for the A-League Youth teams and AIS is the priority for player development for these age groups - I reckon the FFA are doing it.