FORMER Socceroo Archie Thompson says he wants to see young Australians plying their trade in Europe earn similar recognition to A-League ‘bolters’, believing too many players return too early from their stints overseas.
Mariners youngster Daniel De Silva has dazzled since returning to the A-League after returning from a stint at Dutch club Roda JC, after a transfer to Serie A side Roma previously fell through.
Thompson said it was frustrating to see young players starring in the A-League earning more attention then their contemporaries playing overseas — citing the likes of Jimmy Jeggo and Mustafa Amini.
“Look, he’s obviously talented — he’s come back and he’s lit the league on fire but … it’s just funny that we always put pressure on these kids because they have one or two good games and suddenly they’re a bolter for the World Cup team,” Thompson said on Fox Sports’ Just for Kicks.
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“But you’ve got to look at some of the players that we’ve got overseas that are doing well in Europe. I mean, we don’t speak about them.”
Thompson said he believed the best young Australian talent needed to ply their trade overseas, rather than returning to the A-League
“Look, I’m a big supporter of the A-League but I believe still that our talent and all the young talent needs to go over to Europe and play in the top leagues,” he said.
“I mean, De Silva’s been phenomenal, no doubt about it, but how long did he last overseas? A year? A season. And suddenly he comes back here and he’s a bolter for the World Cup team.
“When you look at Amini, he’s been over there for six, seven years.
“One player has a great year and suddenly he’s a World Cup bolter but we forget about the players — the guys that are overseas, Amini, Jimmy Jeggo.”
Former Central Coast star Daniel McBreen said while players tended to be pumped up “too early”, he disagreed players needed to be in Europe to be called up.
“But people come here, play in the A-League, don’t get a look-in, go overseas and straight away they should be in the (team)? Why — because they’ve been overseas for three months?” he said.
“What’s the difference?”
“I agree that we pump them up too early, at a young age, when they have a few good games.”
Thompson said his biggest issue with players returning to Australia was that they didn’t stick it out for long enough overseas.
A number of young Australians, including Melbourne City’s Stefan Mauk, have had short stints overseas before returning home to find form in the A-League.
“I believe that you’ve got to be playing — for our national team … (the best thing) for our young players is to go overseas because then they get a professional feel about what it is like to be overseas,” Thompson said.
“But I just feel like now young players are going overseas and they don’t grind it out. Within two or three or four months — okay, because they’re not playing — they come straight back and they’re in the A-League.
“I just believe for our national team to be better and to get better, our young players need to be playing overseas and the problem is we come back too quickly. And then suddenly they’re the bolter for the national team.
“I’m a massive fan of De Silva … I think he’s an unbelievable talent but let’s not forget about the kids that are over in Europe.”
English television presenter Max Rushden compared the hype around young Australian players to that circling Spurs star Dele Alli, who has recently been going through a form slump.
“Any England player — look at Dele Alli, right — who had a brilliant season last season for Spurs,” Rushden said.
“He came from MK Dons for £4m, he’s a brilliant footballer, he’s not having a great season this season.
“He has been a shoe-in in the No. 10 for England at the World Cup, he scored two against Real Madrid at Wembley, he had a decent game at the Bernabeu but he actually hasn’t done that much for Spurs because he’s 21.
“And he’s played so much football and probably needs a bit of a break but we’re the worst at building every single player up so a) the tabloids can hammer them for something that’s happened off the field or b) so that by the time it gets to June, we are all 100 per cent convinced we are going to win the World Cup — again.”
Former Socceroo Robbie Slater said in order for the A-League to be respected, local-based players needed to be rewarded for form, along with those playing overseas.
“I think if our competition is going to get to a level of respect that we need it to, if players are performing in our competition regularly and consistently, then of course they should be looked at for the national team,” Slater said.
“And players overseas who are doing the same — every Australian should be considered for the national team.”
Slater said while De Silva had been hyped up very early, he just needed to maintain his form.
“And I agree with you (Archie), one or two games isn’t enough — but it’s the nature of the game,” he said.
“People are going to do that and Danny had a fantastic game last week and he’s been a great acquisition for the Mariners who are playing fantastic football.
“If he continues to play like this and the Mariners continue to progress, then of course the coach will have a look at him.”