New coach, new generation, same old squad.
For all the bluster coming from the FFA recently about a “new generation” and a “transition” period, at their first opportunity to highlight that new philosophy they faltered, selecting a squad with more players closer to 30 than 20.
Players of the future such as Tommy Oar, Nikita Rukavytsya and James Holland are all surprise omissions, while tried, tested and, arguably, failed players such as North, McDonald, Garcia all get another chance.
I will cut Holger Osieck some slack as he has only been in the job a matter of weeks so won’t have had the opportunity to run his eye over the players of the future.
This is where strong guidance is needed from his assistant, Auerlio Vidmar and FFA Technical Director, Han Berger.
It’s ironic that just last week Berger was lamenting the fact that not enough young players are given an opportunity in the A-League, criticising clubs for choosing foreigners the nod over promoting a promising young talent.
That’s why it’s such a shame that when the FFA was presented with the same opportunity for the national team they failed the test.
Mark Schwarzer isn’t playing and is 37, there is real chance he won’t be around in 2014 and if his move to Arsenal eventuates, may not be available in January for the Asian Cup. Why not use this opportunity to give Federici, the man earmarked as his successor, another chance in goal.
Harry Kewell at 32 has to be vey doubtful for 2014, and whilst he is a legend of the game, his time in the national team must surely be coming closer to it’s final chapter.
Fox Sports expert Andy Harper was equally disappointed, describing it as a “massive opportunity missed”.
Let’s hope that the few youngsters that are in the squad are given a start and given an opportunity to prove themselves.