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Socceroos can do with fresh blood

ANALYSIS

You reap what you sow. And Holger Osieck is continuing to reap a mountain of criticism after the Socceroos’ abject capitulation against Brazil last week.

If the wisdom of the crowd means anything, then the German’s tenure with the Socceroos is just about over, but it remains to be seen if the FFA shares the collective viewpoint.

The debate over the future of the national team  has reached a pitch rarely before heard. It may just be a howl of frustration from the true believers who cannot stand what they are seeing, or merely an illustration of the law that nature abhors a  vacuum: with no A-League until October and the longest off-season in history, fans have got to vent about something.

One thing has to be said: whoever does coach the national team from this point on, whether it’s Osieck, Aurelio Vidmar, Guus Hiddink, Marcelo Bielso, Jose Pekermann, Ange Postecoglou or Graham Arnold, then they need to be bold and resolute  – and have plenty of imagination.

The latter might well turn out to be the most important criteria, given the dearth of options Australia has in several key positions.

Those who promote Hiddink’s credentials can point to his ability to conjure something out of nothing. It's a gift that the most creative coaches have. Under his leadership Scott Chipperfield, who had made his name as a marauding left-sided wide man, was transformed into a left-back, and even occasionally operated as a left-sided stopper in a back three.

Hiddink also turned Luke Wilkshire, a hard-working but hardly devastating midfielder,  into an excellent full-back.

But Hiddink was lucky then, as that was probably the extent of the transformative work he needed to do: Australia was well served eight years ago with creative midfielders, quality strikers  such as  Mark Viduka and  Harry Kewell at the peak of his powers, someone who could provide the X-factor the side now lacks.

So whoever sits in the dugout needs to think laterally about solving the  present deficiencies.

If there are no left-backs deemed up to it –  and it’s probably worth having another look at Aziz Behich or Michael Zullo – then why not think radically and try someone such as  Tommy Oar in that space and teach him to defend. Robbing Peter to pay Paul? Maybe, but it’s probably more important to shore up the rearguard  than worry about the wide left attacking spot.

If centre-back is a problem, then why not look at Mile Jedinak as a stopper. He has the height and has spent much of his career as a holding midfielder, so he can tackle and defend. That way Mark Milligan, who has been impressive as a box-to-box midfielder, could also play in the same team.

Mitch Langerak has to be given game time in goal. Mark Schwarzer knew when he signed for Chelsea that he wouldn’t get a lot of game time, but the future of the national team is too important to allow Schwarzer to keep his eye in by playing in every friendly between now and Brazil.

If he isn’t prepared to sit on the bench a couple of times, perhaps leave him out of the squad to allow Langerak and Mat Ryan a game or two.
James Holland is playing in  the Champions League. Surely he has to be given a chance.  Combative and hard-working, it might be worth looking at him as a full-back as well as a midfielder. Has  Mathew  Leckie, who is  now playing  in the second Bundesliga and scoring a few goals, been  discarded?

These are desperate times requiring desperate measures  ... and thinking outside the square.

5 comments so far

  • Or he could just pick one of the two players playing regularly at left back in decent European leagues Davidson in holland of Lowry in the championship.

    It's not rocket science - or maybe it is and it's the rocket science theory that only he knows that can explain why holger keeps playing matt McKay a non performing non left back into the position!

    Despite jedinak playing in the epl I don,t think he should be in the side. Both of Man U's goals last night were started by poor jedinak passes giving Man U the ball, it he first he apbasically played young in on the way to the penalty and the second he under hit a 5 yard pass that would have led to a Palace box penetration and instead Man Upassed it wide and broke forward gaining a free kick on the edge of the box that Rooney scored from.

    Agree re: goalkeeping, Leckie though.

    Commenter
    Lachie
    Location
    Collingwood
    Date and time
    September 16, 2013, 12:12AM
    • I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Jedinak. He is arguably Australia's consistently worst player. He is like an extra player to the opposition. He can't pass a ball. He, Mackay & Holman ALWAYS LOSE THE BALL. They have no idea. Please put in players who at least can pass to their own teammates.

      Commenter
      keith
      Date and time
      September 16, 2013, 11:57AM
    • Holger OUT. He has wasted our time playing ageing stars at the expense of blooding new players. Why on God's earth Luca$h and Shwarzer start in friendlies is beyond my humble brain. What is it about them that we don't already know?????? His inadequacies as a coach have stood out like dog's proverbials and yet we continue to employ him LOL.

      Commenter
      Stevo
      Date and time
      September 17, 2013, 6:19AM
  • Very true Mr Lynch. While Holger has done a little tinkering (ie - Milligan, Oar, Kruse in for Valeri and the like), he's still far too reliant on the old brigade of Germany 2006. Yes they've been great servants to our country, but many need to be tapped on the shoulder and told they need to move aside NOW - IE - if Holger couldn't see how slow and exposed our 2 CB's were against Brazil, then he also needs to be moved aside.

    Commenter
    Rodders
    Location
    Airport West
    Date and time
    September 16, 2013, 9:34AM
    • Some players have had their time. We all know who they are. The terrible thing is THEY know who they are too. Putting your own ego, (or need for a new club) above the national teams interest is just not on. Retire, let the team build to 2014 and beyond, whilst you still have some vestige of credibility left.

      Commenter
      matt
      Date and time
      September 16, 2013, 9:29PM

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      Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

      Round 1
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      WEL 1vs WSW 0 Stats
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      NEW 0vs BRI 4 Stats
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      Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
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      WEL 5vs MCY 1 Stats
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      Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
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      CCM 0vs VIC 3 Stats
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      NEW 1vs WEL 3 Stats
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      Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
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      Round 13
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      Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
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      Round 14
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      Round 15
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      PER 3vs VIC 3 Stats
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      Round 16
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      CCM 2vs ADE 1 Stats
      VIC 3vs MCY 0 Stats
      PER 1vs SYD 3 Stats
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      CCM 0vs BRI 2 Stats
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      Round 20
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      Round 21
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      Round 22
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      Round 23
      Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
      VIC 2vs CCM 1 Stats
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      Round 24
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      BRI 6vs CCM 1 Stats
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      Round 25
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      Round 26
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      Round 27
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      Round 28
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      ADE 2vs BRI 1 Stats
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      Round 29
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      VIC 3vs MCY 0 Stats
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      Round 30
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      Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
      Overall standings
      Team P W L +/- Pts
      Melbourne Victory 27 15 4 25 53
      Sydney FC 27 14 5 17 50
      Adelaide United 27 14 9 15 46
      Wellington Phoenix 27 14 9 10 46
      Melbourne City FC 27 9 10 -5 35
      Brisbane Roar 27 10 13 -1 34
      Perth Glory 27 14 5 10 50
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