Aussies Abroad is Compiled by Damian Davies Aussies Abroad is Compiled by Damian Davies
Welcome to another month of "Aussies Abroad". The countdown to Brazil is now under 100 days and the squad announcement for the Ecuador friendly clearly signals the intention to create a new generation of Socceroos. As the manager says, all about playing regular minutes, and thankfully we have a good number of players doing just that. A little bit of transfer movement predominately across the Asian leagues. Club football is getting interesting across Europe as we enter the last few months of the season.
Transfers:- with the transfer window being closed, a limited amount of movement with uncontracted players being the movers. From a national team perspective, centre-backs Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski both found new clubs as they make late runs for the WC squad. Several former Hyundai A League players making the move to Thailand.
Additions/changes to player database:
Mitchell Austin (3 Apr 1991) - loan return to Cambridge United, England
Billy Celeski (14 Jul 1985) - transferred to Liaoning Whomin, China
Christian Esposito (23 Jul 1990) - loan return to Novara, Italy
Ndumba Makeche (4 Mar 1992) - transferred to Felda United, Malaysia
Trent McClenahan (4 Feb 1985) - transferred to PTT Rayong, Thailand
Lucas Neill (9 Mar 1978) - transferred to Watford FC, England
Erik Paartalu (3 May 1986) - transferred to Muang Thong, Thailand
Mirjan Pavlovic (21 Apr 1989) - transferred to Pune FC, India
Danny Vukovic (27 Mar 1985) - loan to Vegalta Sendai, Japan
Daniell Zeleny (19 Oct 1988) - transferred to Churchill Brothers, India
Removed from player database:
Scott Baginski (Kaya FC) - transferred to Lions, QSL
Mitchell Davidson (Kaya FC) - transferred to Fraser Park, NSWPL
Antony Golec (Liaoning Whomin) - transferred to Western Sydney Wanderers
Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) - transferred to Sydney FC
Rocco Visconte (Suphaburi FC) - transferred to Croydon Kings, SAFL
England (Premiership) – Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak continues to inspire his team as they fight against relegation. Still yet to miss a minute of this campaign, February saw ties against Manchester United and Arsenal!! As a nominee for PFA Player of the Year, he will go very close. Brad Jones (Liverpool) and Mark Schwarzer (Chelsea) remain on the bench for their respective clubs.
England (Championship) – very little game time for our Aussies at this level. Scott McDonald and Shane Lowry were both in and out of the Millwall line up. Goalkeepers Alex Cisak (Burnley) and Adam Federici (Reading) continued to warm the pine.
England (League One) – interestingly one of the leagues where we have several Aussies performing very strongly. Most appropriate to start with Massimo Luongo at Swindon given he has been called up to the national team. He has scored 6 times from midfielder in a break out season of nearly 3000 minutes. The Preston North End connection of Neil Kilkenny and Bailey Wright have helped their team charge up the table and must both be on the radar for Brazil. James Wesolowski continues to have possibly his most productive season while Brad Inman got himself back on the scorers sheet after a bit of a drought by the standards he has set this season.
Germany (Bundesliga) – not much to report with Mitch Langerak continuing on the bench at Bayer Dortmund.
Germany (2. Bundesliga) - attacking midfielder Mat Leckie has added a bit more scoring to his minutes this season and looks like becoming an important part of the national team. Ben Halloran was certainly hitting his straps until a training injury has put him on the sidelines.
Netherlands (Eredivisie) – the Utrecht boys (Oar and Sarota) both got national call ups after solid performances in Holland. Tommy Oar scoring his first goal for the season. The development of Jason Davidson has been impressive. From junior football in Japan, senior football in Portugal and now a few seasons in Holland, the 22 year old has an impressive CV.
Italy (Serie B) - Carl Valeri has made his starting debut at Ternana but needs to cement that position to advance his case for inclusion in the Socceroos squad.
Switzerland (Super League) - Dario Vidosic (FC Sion) took his season tally to 5 as both he and Oliver Bozanic (FC Luzern) continue to impress.
Scotland (Premier) – Dylan McGowan continues to start each week for Hearts. Pleasingly Curtis Good has made the most of his new opportunity at Dundee United. Starting each week and having netted his debut goal for the club.
Cyprus (1. Division) - winger Robert Stambolziev has now scored 5 times in his 21 appearances.
U.A.E (UFL) – Brett Holman (Al Nasr) has certainly justified his recall to the Socceroos with several goals of late including a brace in their last game.
India (I League) - our Aussie boys continue to find themselves on that leagues scoring charts with Sean Rooney two goals behind in the race for the Golden Boot at table topping Bengaluru. Tolgey Ozbey scored in only his second appearance for Dempo.
Hong Kong (HKFA 1st Division) - the most notable Aussie performance this month was probably the brace scored by former Melbourne Heart striker Dylan Macallister.
Malaysia (Super League) - Mario Karlovic (Terengganu FA) returned from injury to help his team to top of the league.
New Zealand (Premiership) - Richie Cardozo continues to perform strongly in his second stint at Waitakere United, three behind in the Golden Boot but quickly running out of games.
Injuries:- unfortunately the injury list is quite extensive. Long term injuries to Robbie Kruse and Rhys Williams have now seen Robbie declare himself a non-starter for the World Cup. While Rhys has yet to give up hope of a late charge to the national squad. Brad Inman suffered a groin injury recently but will hopefully not be out too long. Both Ben Halloren (hip) and Trent Sainsbury (knee) have minor injuries but enough to keep them out of the Ecuador game.
(UEFA Champions League) – both Langerak (Dortmund) and Schwarzer (Chelsea) sat on the bench as their teams recorded good away results.
(UEFA Europa League) – no Australians appeared in February
(Copa Libertadores) - Richard Porta started Nacional's tie that saw them proceed to the second round
(Asian Champions League) - both Sam Gallager (Hanoi T&T) and Andrew Barisic (South China) were knocked out at the qualifying stage. Several Aussies are now playing in the group stage - McGowan, Nicholls, Wilkinson and Salley.
Reserves and Youth:-
The Aston Villa Strain brothers, Tom and Jordan continue to excel. Cameron Burgess has progressed to the U21's at Fulham.Alex Grant plays 90 minutes each game for Stoke City and scores his share of goals. Young striker Peter Skapetis seems to be cementing himself in the QPR U21 squad. Also in England, 15 yo Panos Armenakas has made his debut for the Watford U18's. In Italy, the form of Chris Ikonomidis has seen him called up to the senior squad.
International level:- a fantastic squad has been selected for the Ecuador game. The opportunity to have several younger players to audition for a place at Brazil in exciting to watch. Add in the comments from Ange about an "open door", the next three months will be riveting with about 40 players being a genuine chance to get named in the provisional squad of 30 in mid May.
Socceroo (capped) of the month – a previous "winner" of this award, Mat Ryan has remained in goal the entire season for Club Brugge. They have moved to second on the table with his consistent performances. He is arguably the number one keeper for the Socceroos despite only appearing 4 times at national level.
Sept – Cahill, Oct - Vidosic, Nov - Ryan, Dec - Jedinak, Jan - Jedinak
Under the radar (uncapped) - the performances of Bailey Wright have been super impressive this year at Preston North End. The quality of his performances, his consistency, and a little scoring, make him highly regarded. A Socceroos call up can't be far away for this young talent.
Sept - Wilkinson, Oct - Konstantinidis, Nov - Luongo, Dec - Mrcela, Jan - Giannou
Young player (U21) of the month – having played at several clubs over the past few seasons, seems that 20 yo Alex Grant has settled in well at Stoke City. Very dependable in defence, he would have to be an outside chance of making the senior squad in the run home.
Sept - Ikonomidis , Oct - Ugarkovic, Nov - Ryan Williams, Dec - Cooper, Jan - B.Smith