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Aussies on the move

by Ben Somerford on Jan 11, 2012

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January is the time for change

It's that time of the year when the transfer speculation ramps right up, when the gossip columns go crazy and rumours run rife. But for several our Aussies in Europe, it's an important junction in their careers as they seek a much-needed change of scenery.

Indeed, it is the January transfer window.

Already AZ Alkmaar's out-of-favour Aussie James Holland (he actually hasn't made his AZ debut despite joining the club in January 2009) has begun his search for a new club after leaving their winter training camp for a trial with Austria Vienna. The Austrian Bundesliga is hardly the best league in the world, but game time is the key to this move and it seems the 22-year-old is keen to stay in the shop window of Europe.

On that note, Socceroos coach Holger Osieck was quoted by German newspaper Bild last week as stating game time was of the utmost importance for Fortuna Dusseldorf's Robbie Kruse. The Australia boss admitted he was concerned by his lack of game time, which he believed was hindering the 23-year-old's development.

It's a valid argument, but along with that, there's also the fact that a lack of game time means these types of players won't be match fit and/or match sharp when called up for Socceroos duty.

Of course, the next six months won't be critical for the national team, however the fourth round of 2014 World Cup qualifiers begin in June and being ready for then will be important. And January represents the time to make a move with that in mind.

There's others who would be of concern to Osieck, particularly Socceroos regular Matt McKay who has only made three first-team appearances for Rangers since his move from Brisbane Roar midway through 2011.

McKay seems willing to stay at Ibrox and fight for his place but unfortunately he hasn't convinced manager Ally McCoist just yet.

And a breakthrough for the ex-Roar skipper doesn't appear to be coming anytime soon having been left out of the squad for the weekend's Scottish Cup clash with third tier Arbroath.

There's others too, particularly Nathan Burns who has six months to run on his contract with Greek club AEK Athens.

Burns, who has been linked with an A-League return, has struggled for regular game time this term, but despite his contract situation he has said in the Greek press he's focusing on the next game rather than his long-term future.

David Carney is another Socceroo battling to see regular first-team action with his new Spanish second tier club AD Alcorcon. The Australian left-back, who joined Alcorcon in October, has fallen behind Michael Zullo in the Socceroos pecking order, following a shoulder injury.

Despite his return to fitness, Carney is struggling to make the transition into Spanish life, with reports coming out of Madrid that his Alcorcon coach doesn't speak any English, leaving the Aussie out of the loop and battling for anything more than cameo appearances off the bench.

There's others too, who need to move for the sake of their development as young footballers including Tommy Oar, 20, who started the season brilliantly at Utrecht, but has recently fallen out of favour under new boss Jan Wouters. Having made just 13 appearances last season, the 2011-12 campaign is a time where Oar needs to see more action on the pitch.

Mitchell Langerak, 23, is another who isn't seeing nearly enough game time. There's only so long the Dortmund back-up keeper can sit on the bench, before his development is stalled.

A loan switch for these two is the ideal option. Perhaps for many more, such a move is the right one.

I've got a lot of respect for footballers who stick with clubs to prove themselves to their coach by doing the hard yards on the training ground, rather than making a run for it when things get tough. Typically our loyal Aussies abroad do the former.

But sometimes it's amazing what a bit of game time does for a player and making a move, albeit temporarily, can be just what a footballer needs. We'll wait and see what happens in January.