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Five A-League teenagers ready for Europe

by Ben Somerford on May 10, 2012

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Talented A-League teenagers Curtis Good and Terry Antonis have already up and left their clubs this off-season for trials with two Champions League bound clubs, so who else is ready?

Indeed, this time last year we saw the likes of Mathew Leckie, Robbie Kruse, Mustafa Amini, Kosta Barbarouses and the more senior Matt McKay complete moves to Europe. This time around, Heart defender Good, 19, has headed to Newcastle, while Antonis, 18, is at Moenchengladbach for a trial too. Whether a deal will come from it, remains to be seen, but it's a positive experience for both.

Some may argue the pair are too young to head for Europe and should do their apprenticeship in the A-League but my personal opinion differs from that. I'm a believer that Australian footballers should come through the A-League youth system and try to land their European move when they are 18 or 19. If it doesn't pan out at that age, then it's time to knuckle down in the A-League.

There's no doubt in my mind, being at a good European club at a young age does a footballer's development wonders from the coaches they learn off, to the facilities they are privy to and the standards set by these teams. If we want our Australian youngsters to take the next step, this is the best place to do it, in my opinion.

So here's five A-League teenagers who could be ready to move to Europe;

Tom Rogic – Central Coast – 19

The young Mariners attacker was a revelation in the A-League after he arrived in Australia in January following his bungled move to Reading. While visa issues harmed him getting a contract in England, the ACT youngster of Serbian descent, has shown he's got the tools to become a top-class footballer, including two feet, a fine shot and some genuine skill, but some nurturing is required.

Bernie Ibini-Isei – Central Coast – 19

The Nigeria-born Central Coast striker is full of pace and energy. That's a great start for any footballer, but for his development in terms of adding more to his game, a European move could be crucial at his age. The 2010-11 NYL topscorer made the step-up to A-League level, impressing plenty of Mariners' fans in 2011-12. He should try to take it another level yet again.

Josh Risdon – Perth Glory – 19

Glory's quiet achiever at right-back, local product Risdon is a player full of stamina and energy. They're two vital characteristics of any good full-back. He won Perth's player's player of the year this term, simply because he's such an honest toiler up and down his flank, and any manager would love him on board. Add some more strings to his bow, he can go places.

Ben Halloran – Gold Coast United – 19

Lots of A-League clubs are circulating for the Cairns product's signature this off-season after a breakthrough 2011-12 term where he showed he has genuine attacking quality. Halloran has an eye for goal, pace plus a footballer's brain. But he should set his ambitions beyond the A-League and look abroad. I see a lot of Brett Emerton in Halloran's style of play, and if he finds the right club, he could develop just like him.

Dimitri Petratos – Sydney FC – 19

There's no doubting that Sydney-born Petratos is a player boasting plenty of talent. He's shown glimpses of it in the past two seasons at Sydney FC, but you wonder when he'll find some consistency and take his game up a notch. Perhaps moving out of his comfort zone is exactly what he needs.