Thursday, April 4, 2013

Aussies Abroad Month In Review - March 2013

Compiled by Damian Davies
Hello All 
A big March for our Aussies Abroad.  Many of the European leagues are entering the critical last months where relegation and promotion will be determined. From an EPL perspective, a few too many Aussies caught in relegation battles unfortunately. Most the leagues across Asia and the USA have also kicked off for 2013.  This is possibly when we have the most Aussies in action at once.  Another dozen players have moved clubs overseas, across Europe and Asia.  The Socceroos were in action against Oman, a draw meaning we have a few more tense games in the lead up to WC2014.  Many Aussies appearing in Asian Champions League and AFC Cup, while also a few young names starting to make a name for themselves in the youth leagues across Europe
Transfers:-  no real pattern this month with numerous players already overseas just switching clubs.  The Aussie presence in Thailand continues to grow, while Daniell Zeleny is set to be the first Aussie to play professionally in the Philippines.
Additions/changes to player database:
Anthony Carter (31 Aug 1994) - transferred from youth team to CFR Cluj, Romania
Michael Cavallaro (20 Jul 1987) - transferred to FC Lustenau, Austria
Scott Gannon (12 Mar 1988) - transferred from Otago United to BA FC, Fiji
Curtis Good (23 Mar 1993) - loan return from Bradford City to Newcastle, England
Mark Griffin (16 Jun 1991) - transferred from Dundalk to Derry City FC, Ireland
Brendan Hamill (18 Sep 1992) - loan from Seongham to Gangwon FC, Korea
Massimo Luongo (25 Sep 1992) - loan from Tottenham to Swindon Town, England
Ante Rozic (8 Mar 1986) - transferred from Metalurh Zaporizhya to Suphanburi, Thailand
Mario Simic (28 Dec 1989) - transferred from Sydney United to HNK Zmaj Makarska, Croatia
Dean Tomeski (4 Feb 1991) - loan return from Ohrid to Vardar, Macedonia
Ryan Williams (28 Oct 1993) - loan return from Gillingham to Fulham, England
Daniell Zeleny (19 Oct 1988) - transferred from Gresik United to Kaya FC, Philippines 
Removed from player database: 
Julian Aguirre (Gombak United) - uncontracted, whereabouts unknown
Alusine Fofanah (Manchester City) - transferred to West Sydney Berries, NSW
Matthew Kasbarian (Conwy Borough) - transferred to non-league, England
Club Level:-
England (Premiership) - Mark Schwarzer (Fulham) continues to be the prominent Aussie in this league.  He has been pivotal in a run of five undefeated games that has leap frogged his team to mid table.  At the age of 40, rumours are floating around of another contract extension, perfect timing for the lead up to Brazil.  Brett Holman managed only 25 minutes on the pitch for relegation threatened Aston Villa during March.  We heard that he has as little idea as us as to why he is not getting more opportunities. Adam Federici (Reading), Chris Herd (Aston Villa) and Brad Jones (Liverpool) all saw liitle or no action due to injury over the month. Worth noting that Curtis Good has made his first appearance in a match day squad for Newcastle, hopefully he debuts before the end of the season. 

England (Championship) – Shane Lowry (Millwall) continues his breakout season. Very solid at the back in a defence that has contributed to his team pushing up to mid table with a few games in hand, he also scored a cracking free kick if you haven't seen the footage!! Middlesbrough have had a disappointing month; going from promotion hopefuls to mid table strugglers after losing four games straight.  The form of Rhys Williams may well have contributed as he dropped back to the bench based on poor form.  More positive news for Scott McDonald, producing 11 goals in 21 appearances after a challenging start to his season.  Neil Kilkenny has made his way back to the starting eleven at Bristol City but his side face a mighty challenge to avoid relegation.  They sit 8 points short of safety with 5 games to go.  Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) has now made 37 starts this campaign, and a string of recent losses means the playoffs now beckon instead of automatic promotion.

England (League One) – Brad Inman's impressive loan spell was rewarded with an extension to the end of the season. He has certainly blossomed with the chance to play first team football.  He could have an interesting few months at both club and national level.  Games in hand are playing to the advantage of our Aussies at Oldham as they push for survival. Dean Bouzanis has returned to starting keeper, pushing fellow Aussie Alex Cisak to the bench.  While James Wesolowski has now produced his most productive season, in terms of minutes played, as a pro footballer.  Another playing currently enjoying a career best season is young defender Bailey Wright at Preston North End, having made over 30 starts so far this season.
England (League Two) – a little quiet for our Aussies in this league.  Jamie Young (Aldershot) has made 39 starts but his last four will be critical for his club.  They sit bottom of the table and will want to desperately maintain their league status.  With a game in hand, will be close but survival is certainly possible.  Aaron Downes (Torquay) has played limited minutes, James Meredith (Bradford City) has just returned from glandular fever and Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (Rochdale) is currently starting each week.
Germany (Bundesliga) – not as hot a month for Robbie Kruse at Fortuna Dusseldorf.  While he continues to start, the goals and assists were not as free flowing with no wins recorded during March. No game time for either Mitch Langerak or Nikita Rukavytsya during March.

Germany (2.Bundesliga) – Mathew Leckie has been floating between the seniors and reserves at FSV Frankfurt, he now has a combined 8 goals for the season.

Netherlands (Eredivisie) – Tommy Oar (Utrecht) was the only Aussie to see decent minutes in the Dutch League this month.  Zullo and Davidson sitting on the bench for their respective teams and Adam Sarota in rehab for a knee injury.
Belgium (Third Division) - after a youth career in Spain, 19 year-old midfielder has made his professional debut for FCV Dender.
Turkey (Super Lig) – Aussie-Turk Ersan Gulum (Besiktas) is having his most productive season in the Super Lig. Raising an old debate I know, but at 25 years old, could he get a look in to the Socceroos?  Kerem Bulut (Akhiser Belediye GS) is yet to make his first start but his club have finally climbed off the bottom of the table and with 5 games to go, mathematically they still can avoid relegation.

Austria (Bundesliga) – James Holland (Austria Wien) continues to shine in midfield as his club continue their push to the title. 

Scotland (Premier) - Tom Rogic is often on the pine for Celtic but he can't be too far away from a starting berth.  Dylan McGowan continues to play at Hearts in a season they would prefer to forgot for many reasons.
Portugal (Primeira) - Caleb Patterson-Sewell (Vitoria Setubal) continues to warm the bench.

Denmark (Superliga) - young striker Brent McGrath is back in the matchday squad at relegation threatened Brondby.
Greece (Super League) – having now made six starts for Plantanias, good to see Apostolis Giannou get more experience while on loan.  A string of appearances off the bench for Giannis Simosis at relegation threatened Kerkyra as well.

Greece (Football League) – the introduction of Andreas Govas (AEL Kallonis) has coincided with a late run up the table to the point where a promotion playoff is within sight.  In terms of minutes played, Billy Konstantinidis (Ethinikos Gazoros) is enjoying his best season in the Football League.

Greece (Football League 2) - Christis Tomaras has settled in at Paniliakos, making 5 appearances during the month. 
Cyprus (1.Division) - Robert Stambolziev (Olympiakos Nicosia) has now made 20 appearances but unfortunately his club find themselves in the relegation round.

Russia (Premier League) - a combination of fitness and form has seen Luke Wilkshire make just 11 starts of 22 fixtures for Dinamo Moscow this season.  Now in his fifth season in Russia, and entering the twilight of his career, would think he is high on the list of targets for the next A League season.
Malta (Premier League) - Twenty-one year old defender Jacob Borg has now made 19 appearances as Balzan Youths also find themselves in the relegation round in Malta.  He again appeared as an unused sub for the Malta national team during March, so just a matter of time until he is lost to the Australian national set-up.

Serbia (Prva Liga) - after his mid season transfer, Matthew Byrne now finds himself in the starting eleven at FK Teloptik.
Ireland (Premier League) - Mark Griffin has started life at new club Derry City well, appearing in the first six fixtures (5 starts) and scoring twice. 
USA (MLS) - the new season has also just commenced with Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls) and Andy Rose (Seattle Sounders) both starters.
China (Super League) - early days given the league has just started, but worth noting the following players have started all fixtures for their new clubs; Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Michael Marrone (Shanghai Shenxin), Erik Paartalu (Tianjin Teda) and Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe).
China (League One) - Ryan Griffiths has also got off to a flyer at new club Beijing Baxy, scoring 3 times in the first 3 games.
India (I League) - After a series of controversies at a personal and club level, Tolgey Ozbey (Mohun Bagan) has responded by taking his goal tally to 5 in 10 starts.
Thailand (Premier) - Goran Subara (Bangkok Glass) and Kyle Nix (Chiangrai United) have both commenced the new season in the starting team at their new clubs.
Indonesia (Super League) - Journeyman Dane Milovanovic (Pelita Bandung Raya) continues to play 90 minutes each game for his team. A debut goal for defender Jovo Pavlovic at Mitra Kukar also during the month.
Qatar (Stars League) - not much football was played in Qatar during March, however Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa),Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) and Matt Spiranovic (Al Arabi) all turned out for their respective teams.
U.A.E. (UFL) – Alex Brosque is now up to 10 goals this season for league leaders Al Ain. Nick Carle has been in and out of the starting eleven for Bani Yas.  Dino Djulbic continues in the heart of defence for Al Wahda as they climb the table. Richard Porta's second stint in this league is proving more successful with 18 starts (from 19 fixtures) and now scoring 9 goals. 

Injuries:- season ending injuries to Adam Sarota (knee), Kofi Danning (knee), and Chris Herd (foot). While Adam Federici (ankle), Carl Valeri (ankle), Josh Kennedy (back), Matt Simon (knee), Nathan Burns (knee), Luke Devere (knee) and Shane Huke (foot) are all still in the treatment rooms. Of those Federici and Valeri are at critical times in the season and their clubs could certainly benefit from having those guys available.

Club Competitions:-
(UEFA Champions League) Celtic (Irvine, Rogic) did get eliminated by Juventus with neither Aussie being called into the squad.  Borussia Dortmund progressed to the quarter finals at the expense of Shakhtar Donetsk, with Mitch Langerak sitting on the bench.
(UEFA Europa League) While Tottenham have successful progressed to the quarters, the Aussie boys Luongo and Gallifuoco have not featured.

(Asian Champions League) – while in the group stages, numerous Aussies have been seeing game time; Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe), Alex Brosque (Al Ain), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa) and Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors).
(AFC Cup) – several Aussies turned out with Dimitri Petratos playing 90 minutes in one game and a brace in the second for Kelantan (Malaysia). Yangon United's Michael Cvetkovski (Myanmar) played a full game and Andrew Barisic started for East Bengal (India).
North America
(CONCACAF Champions League) – Andy Rose appeared for Seattle Sounders as they progressed to the semi-finals, now drawn against Mexican club Santos Laguna

Reserves and Youth:-
NextGen– Congratulations to Aston Villa, winning this years competition, with Aussie Jordan Lyden (Aston Villa) in the squad.
U21's – starting in England, Leicester City Aussies Rob Paratore and Callum Elder are both playing at this level although still eligible for the U18's. Peter Skapetis has been earning rave reviews as he progresses at QPR. Matthew Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday), Ryan Edwards (Reading) and Pat Antelmi (Leeds ) continue to be solid contributors.  Jackson Irvine (Celtic) continues to progress since returning from injury. Also continuing his recent good form is Travis Cooper (VVV Venlo).
Youth – a mention to the Fulham youth team, who took out the Dallas Cup with Ryan Williams starting in the final. Peter Makrillos (Stoke City), Chris Oikonomidis (Atalanta), Paul Katsetis (Catania), Milos Degenek (VfB Stuttgart) and James Stojcevski (FC Astoria Walldorf) continue to appear in their respective leagues.

International level:- So the positives.  We came back from a 2-0 deficit to earn a point, not disasterous.  We were reminded how important Tim Cahill is to the national team.  Brett Holman has the class to put an average season and an average performance behind him and still score a screamer.  Arguably one of the better Australian squads assembled for a few years. Bring players like Neill, Kennedy, Federici, Herd, Gulum, Spiranovic, Leckie and Lowry into the mix and we have a decent pool of players from which to select a WC squad from.

Socceroo(capped) of the month – not the greatest month at club level for our Aussies abroad, but one shining light is James Holland.  He has established himself in Austria at league leading Austria Wien after a challenging few years in Holland.  Having a break out season and getting a few games in the national team will certainly lead to some interestng transfer discussions in the summer.
January – Federici, February - Jedinak

Under (uncapped) the radar – I continually nominate this guy for one reason, he would have to big the best performing uncapped player over the course of the past English season.  I am talking about Shane Lowry.  He displayed pose and versatility again during March with control at the back, leadership beyond his age, and a few great free kicks!! A product of many years in the Villa youth system, has been around for a while now and continues to impress. 
January – Bouzanis, February - Gulum

Young player (U21) of the month -  perhaps a little unknown to some, eighteen year old Peter Skapetis has been in England for a few years now.  The Melbourne boy spent time with Birmingham City before moving to QPR.  He is a regular in the U21's and scored an impressive brace in a MOTM performance during March.  The Greeks are keen to claim him, so we will need to be on our toes!!
January – Wright, February - Paratore