This is a seriously tough team to pick. Not through lack of talent – there’s plenty of it – but to work out the most effective combination against world-class opposition is mind boggling.
This is a seriously tough team to pick. Not through lack of talent – there-s plenty of it – but to work out the most effective combination against world-class opposition is mind boggling.
Added to that, the best of the bunch will be playing in green and gold at the East Asian Championships.
Manchester United pose a formidable challenge, but here is the team I feel can give them a push. First though, an appropriate disclaimer for those I have gifted a Socceroo berth.
The players I think Holger Osieck will consider putting in the squad for Asia are: Mat Ryan, Mark Milligan, Archie Thompson and possibly Eugene Galekovic, Ivan Franjic, Aaron Mooy and Nikolai Topor-Stanley. With that in mind, I have considered them unavailable for selection. Cue howls of outrage!
Goalkeeper: Ante Covic
Covic has been immense between the sticks for the Wanderers in their stunning debut season. Michael Theo runs him close, while Mark Birighitti too, had a strong season in a relatively below par Newcastle side and was certainly in with a shout, but for this one Covic gets the nod.
RB Jerome Polenz: The Wanderers have had the most miserly defence in the league this season and Polenz has had a big part to play in that. He also likes to get forward – note his combination play with Youssouf Hersi, which has contributed to the success of the new boys.
CB Trent Sainsbury: Has filled the breach left by Alex Wilkinson so effectively that he is surely now putting himself in line for a future national team spot. Reads the game superbly and is often the starting point for a lot of the Mariners attacks. He can also fill in at right back if required.
CB Patrick Gerhardt: Originally signed as a defensive midfielder, he has been one of the few standouts in an otherwise disappointing Melbourne Heart season. He has a commanding presence and his physical play has resulted in him being one of the more successful imports this season.
LB Adama Traore: Has been so good that Ange Postecoglou thinks he may be the answer to Australia-s troublesome LB position – when he gains his citizenship of course. Out for the end of the season with injury, hopefully he will be right to take his place in this one.
MF Michael McGlinchey: Has had such a strong impact for the Mariners, the side has barely missed Tom Rogic in the no.10 role. His versatility in the midfield is only enhanced by the addition of goals to his game this season.
MF Shinji Ono: With some time to recover from the hamstring issues that trouble him coming into the finals series, Ono should be fit and ready to fire. With his ability to link up the defence with attack, this is the perfect stage for the Wanderers marquee man.
MF Thomas Broich: Never in doubt for this side. He has rediscovered his mojo since taking on added responsibility with the captain-s armband.
F Alessandro Del Piero: His experience against this opposition will be invaluable and with the right service he is always dangerous. He may just receive that in this match, and regardless, everyone wants to see him play on this sort of occasion.
F Daniel McBreen: Has had a stellar season and is in goal-scoring form which is pretty much what you require of a striker isn-t it? The fitness regime of Andrew Clark has enabled him to be at his physical best – despite his 35 years.
F Marco Rojas: Ange Postecoglou is well aware of what Rojas can provide. He provides goals, scores goals and terrorises defences. This will be an excellent barometer of whether he is ready to go overseas.
SUBS: assuming there are six substitutes as per usual rules for a “friendly”, these six get my vote on the bench.
Michael Theo, Jeremy Brockie, Besart Berisha, Emile Heskey, Cassio, Marcelo Carrusca
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