Blogs

Seb's new Socceroos

by Sebastian Hassett on Jan 02, 2012

2 comments | | print

After tackling some serious topics in recent months, I wanted to give you something different this week to chew over. Something that might enrage, please, disgust or delight - or, if nothing else, stir some good old fashioned conversation.

While football in this country may, if you believe some people, remain outside the mainstream, one thing that's right in the middle of our national sporting conscience is the Socceroos. And there's nothing more treasured than a Socceroos cap.

So I'm putting the question out there: right now, who are the best players not to have won their first Australian cap?

There's only one true way to assess this, and that's by naming a matchday team (including substitutes) of those who remain uncapped.

Feel free to submit your own teams - I'd love to see if you think you could put out a better side.

Goalkeeper:

Mat Ryan (goalkeeper) - An outstanding goalkeeper of now, not just the future. Don't worry about his supposed lack of height, he makes up for it in every other department that matters for a goalkeeper. He's a bona fide gun.

Defenders:

Joshua Rose (Left-back) - He might be 30, but there's no question Rose could more than acquit himself in what has been a troublesome position for the Socceroos since the international retirement of Scott Chipperfield. He's getting back into the form that won him the Mariners' Medal last season.

Luke DeVere (Centre-half) - We haven't seen much of DeVere since he left for Gyeongnam but from all reports, he's settling into life in the K-League, which isn't easy. He'll gain Australian selection sooner rather than later.

Rostyn Griffiths (Centre-half) - Allow me some poetic license here. Griffiths believes he's a natural defender, and was raised as one, even if he's played most recently as a holding midfielder. He could fill either spot with aplomb and might win national selection in the next 12 months.

Ivan Franjic (Right-back) - A real 'find' if ever there was one. He nudges out Scott Neville because we don't know how Neville will recover from a very serious knee injury. He's even-money to represent the Socceroos but nobody could begrudge him if he did.

Midfield:

Eric Paartulu (Holding midfielder) - A walk-up for this team, one wonders how the Brisbane star hasn't been called up already. He'll get in soon and when he does, he could nudge out both Carl Valeri and Mile Jedinak before 2014 rolls around.

James Wesolowski (Central midfield) - Owing to the strength of the A-League, Wesolowski is one of only two foreign-based players in the squad. Still only 24, Wesowloski has put in a huge season at Oldham (four goals in 21 appearences) and has turned plenty of heads at bigger clubs.

Mustafa Amini (Central midfield) - There's not much about this boy that hasn't already been said. A massive, massive talent, perhaps the biggest ever exclusively developed in the confines of the A-League. It'll be wonderful to see him strut his stuff in the international arena.

Matthew Leckie (Attacking midfield) - He would have gone to the Asian Cup and under-20 World Cup had circumstances been different but he'll find his way into the side before 2013 is out. Now making an impact in Germany, he's a good chance of turning up in Brazil.

Strikers:

Bernie Ibini-Isei - Some may say I'm jumping the gun here, but I reckon we'll see Ibini-Isei pull on a national team jersey in the next two years. He's got a truckload of potential to be a very good player for a very long time. It's hard to keep a lid on the hype.

Mate Dugandzic - What a highly-skilled player Dugandzic is turning out to be. Melbourne Heart have a super talent on their hands, one who is capable of turning matches. Don't be surprised if Croatia comes knocking for him - they already have once before.

Substitutes:


Michael Theoklitos (goalkeeper) - Hold your fire on Theo - he's still a good keeper despite having one of the worst months of his A-League career. To keep the defence tight enough during the 36-game unbeaten streak suggests he's a terrific glovesman. He deserves his international chance.

Alex Wilkinson (defence) - A solid citizen of the Central Coast, Wilkinson has been an important part of the Mariners' setup since inception and one feels that, with a solid defensive partner, he could make it as a Socceroo.

Chris Herd (defence-midfield) - Some may say he should be in the starting side, but we're still learning about this very talented defender. He's finally cracked into the Aston Villa team and is more than holding his own. He'll get game time under Holger Osieck very shortly.

Oliver Bozanic (midfield) - He's not the finished item just yet but Bozanic can go all the way. He's not at Tommy Oar's level of raw talent but he's not far away, either. He makes for a very solid back-up on the left-hand side of midfield.

James Brown (striker) - A real livewire in attack, he's hard to mark and has exceptional pace. He can shoot from range and continues to improve with each week. Don't act like "I Feel Good" isn't playing your head every time he scores, either.