Sunday, 7 August 2011

Young Socceroos - we ain't so bad.

Now before we all line-up to shoot our Coach, Han Berger, Jan Boultbee, Andrew Dimitriou (didn't he nick all our players) maybe, just maybe we ain't so bad.

We went in as Asian Cup losers and lost Matthew Leckie before the tournament.

The World Game is tough - Spain are tougher still.

Like the U17s we struggled it's fair to say - like the U17s we had few if any competent defenders, but unlike the U17s we saw many signs of individual skill.

And this is what many of us have been hoping for, for many years.

Systems, 1-4-3-3, sure we all want a flowing, beautiful game but in reality if Tom King (Liverpool) Servet Uzular (Sydney FC) and Rhyan Grant(Sydney FC) are key defenders in your national teams - and there are many others in each team - you just ain't going to be producing flowing football, or defending players who have World craft and great pace; often both.

Jan Versleijan and Ante Milicic must have known this.

So we lost, sometimes it was ugly, especially this morning, early on.

But I saw:

Kerem Bulut - work his socks off when all was lost - often on his own. And his goal this morning was a great reward for his energy. How far can he go? Do we know how good he is after these three performances?

Terry Antonis - stamped his authority and skill in every game he played. He can go to the next World Cup - hopefully with two full A-League seasons under his belt. Interesting player.

Muastafa Amini - another with time in front of him, he can go to the next World Cup - and produced some, not many, moments of class.

Tommy Oar - showed his talents, his pace isn't quite fast enough often enough, his skill, not tricky enough, not yet. he's not Harry and he probably won't sustain a start in Eredivision but in the A-League, in Asia, he'll be an important player. Prove me wrong Tommy. His crosses were frequent and he doesn't have to beat his man to cross. A shot to die for. He can only get better.....with games, but will he play at Utrecht?

Kofi Danning - unlike the stars above, Kofi has been shunted, not to Europe but to Brisbane. He showed, in patches, that he could still make a huge impact on the A-League. If Ange Postecoglou can't improve Kofi..who can? He has sufficient pace and improving skill to make a mark this season I think. Kofi done good this time out.

Bernie Ibini-Isi will unsettle A-League defences - can he make it to Europe. I think not, but again a professional career should be his.

D.Petratos - Sydney FC. Surely another Leckie. Watch him make a huge impact in the A-League this season. Can he keep injury free - play in a decent team. Legs for a Mark Bridge lazy pass - but legs and a shot to die for. Played for the team in midfield - up front he could be lethal.

Ben Kantarovski - a great player - everyone says it. I think his progress has stalled considerably at the Jets under Branko and co. Can he regain his top notch reputation in the A-League? Is he good enough for an overseas gig?

Not yet.

All these guys can make a career in professional football - previously U20 squads have seen many many players fall by the way side, not least in recent years, U20 Captain Shaun Ontong and U17 World 11 player Kaz Patafta.

Most of the above have pace, some have skill. And more skill than we are used to seeing in a Young Socceroos team.

Kerem Bulut and Terry Antonis have the most potential based on the last 3 performances, but Musti has the contract, and Oar is already in Europe.

The last U20s, U17 and Olympics teams were - shall we say apart from Nikita Rukavystya - slow and disappointing.

Of course we always have great keepers - Adam Federici, Paul Izzo and now Mark Birighetti - maybe because they get so much practice.

Alot to like in these players - sod all to like in the team!

See ya Jan!

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