Compiled by Damian Davies
A lot to reflect on in August with most of the European leagues kicking off the 2013/14 season. That also means the big club competitions of UEFA Europa League and Champions League have commenced. A busy period for transfers with the window just shutting. A very successful few months at international level as we start the countdown to Brazil.Transfers:- a huge amount of movement as to be expected at this time of year. A mixed bag in terms of destinations, but India has become a popular destination and we have seen a few players return to the Swiss market after the Chipperfield era. A few loan deals have also been negotiated. Plenty more to come as uncontracted players search for a home. With HAL squads filling up quickly, will be interesting to see who returns to Australian shores.Additions/changes to player database:Panos Armenakas (5 Aug 1998) - transferred to Watford, EnglandScott Baginski (28 Feb 1983) - transferred from Saraburi to Kaya FC, PhilippinesMichael Baird (1 Aug 1983) - transferred to Universitatea Craiova, RomaniaDavid Carney (30 Nov 1983) - transferred to New York Red Bull, USAAnthony Carter (31 Aug 1994) - transferred from CFR Cluj II to CFR Cluj, RomaniaJames Demetriou (14 Aug 1995) - transferred from Sydney Olympic to Nottingham Forest, EnglandChristian Esposito (23 Jul 1990) - transferred from ACD Valle d'Aosta to FBC Savona, ItalyIain Fyfe (3 Apr 1982) - transferred from Adelaide Reds to Mes Kerman, IranApostolis Giannou (25 Jan 1990) - transferred from PAOK to Panionios Athens, GreeceRyan Go (28 Sep 1995) - transferred to Feyenoord, NetherlandsMax Haubus (8 Mar 1993) - transferred from Atherton LR to Tus Koblenz, GermanyBradden Inman (10 Dec 1991) - transferred from Newcastle United to Crewe Alexandria, EnglandJackson Irvine (7 Mar 1993) - loan from Celtic to Kilmarnock, ScotlandCalvin Lovric (12 Sep 1992) - loan from Parma to Hercules Alicante, SpainJames Meyer (28 May 1986) - transferred from Brisbane Roar to Pune FC, IndiaTomislav Mrcela (1 Oct 1990) - transferred to NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac, CroatiaLucas Neill (9 Mar 1978) - transferred from Sydney FC to Omiya Ardija, JapanSean Rooney (1 Mar 1989) - transferred from Blacktown City to Bengaluru, IndiaNikita Rukavytsya (22 Jun 1987) - loan from Mainz to FSV Frankfurt, GermanySebastian Usai (28 Feb 1990) - transferred from Blackburn to AFC United, SwedenDario Vidosic (8 Apr 1987) - transferred from Adelaide Reds to FC Sion, SwitzerlandFrane Vladislavic (9 Jan 1994) - loan from Hajduk Split to NK Dugopolje, CroatiaIvan Vujica (20 Apr 1997) - transferred from NK Lokomotiva Zagreb to GNK Dinamo Zagreb, CroatiaRyan Williams (28 Oct 1993) - loan from Fulham to Oxford United, EnglandRemoved from player database:Patrick Antelmi (Leeds United) - released, uncontractedAlex Baird (Dundee) - transferred to Stockport Sports FC, England (non-league)Jacob Borg (Sliema Wanderers) - appeared for Malta national team, congratulationsMatt Byrne (FK Teleoptik Zemun) - transferred to Olympic FC, QldDaniel Caccamo (Kaposvari Rakoczi) - released, uncontractedMatthew Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday) - released, uncontractedAlex Gardikiotis (Blackpool) - transferred to MIFA, UKDean Gardikiotis (Blackpool) - transferred to MIFA, UKAndreas Govas (AEL Kallonis) - released, uncontractedLiam Jacob (Oldham Athletic) - released, uncontractedPatrick Kisorbo (Ipswich Town) - released, uncontractedBilly Konstantinidis (Ethnikos Gazoros) - released, uncontractedDaniel Leach (Eastbourne Borough) - released, uncontractedMatthew McKay (Changchun Yatai) - transferred to Brisbane RoarBrent McGrath (Brondby) - released, uncontractedBen McNamara (Nuneaton Town FC) - released, uncontractedAnte Rozic (Suphanburi FC) - released, uncontractedMichael Rutherford (Amicale) - transferred to Hurstville City, NSWBrendon Santalab (Chongqing Lifan) - transferred to Western Sydney WanderersMatthew Spiranovic (Al Arabi) - released, uncontractedChris Sullivan (Odysseas Kordeliou) - transferred to Para Hills, SAChristos Tomaras (Paniliakos) - released, uncontractedDean Tomeski (Vardar)- released, uncontractedChris Vartaci (Kaposvari Rakoczi) - released, uncontractedAryn Williams (Burnley) - released, uncontractedJamie Young (Aldershot Town) - released, uncontracted
England (Premiership) – a significant decline in the number of Aussies starting in the Premier League this year. Mile Jedinak led Crystal Palace through the promotion playoffs and has continued as club captain. Jedinak playing full games in his clubs first three fixtures. Mark Schwarzer made headlines during the offseason after winning a deal at high flying Chelsea. The biggest concern was always going to be the amount of game his plays. To date, he has been watching Petr Cech from the bench. Brad Jones remains at Liverpool as the number two, and unfortunately may see similar amount of game time as Schwarzer depending on injuries. Chris Herd is in the mix at AstonVilla but also yet to get off the bench. Pleasing to see Curtis Good make his senior debut for Newcastle in a Cup tie.
England (Championship) – with Scott McDonald making the move south to Millwall, they have arguable become our “Aussie team” with Shane Lowry also there. For those with good memories, Lucas Neill and Tim Cahill both played over 150 games at The Den. McDonald is yet to break his scoring duck, but is in the starting eleven. Shane Lowry hasn’t missed a beat, playing every minute of the first five games. Rhys Williams remains as captain at a Middlesbrough team looking to have a stronger season this campaign. They are yet to suffer defeat and encouragingly, Rhys has also played every minute. Alex Cisak (Burnley) is the only other Aussie to make an appearance in this league to date, coming off the bench. Alarmingly, Adam Federici does not appear to be first choice keeper at Reading.
England (League One) – a reasonable representation of Aussies playing senior football. The form leader to date would be Bailey Wright (Preston North End), playing every minute and scoring once. James Meredith has started the season strongly at newly promoted Bradford City. Massimo Luongo celebrated his permanent transfer to Swindon Town with a goal while Bradden Inman has finally got his transfer to Crewe Alexandria so will monitor his progress closely. Kilkenny (Bristol City) and Wesolowski (Oldham Athletic) are working to cement their starting spots.
England (League Two) – little Australian interest here beyond Aaron Downes starting each match for TorquayUnited and young Ryan Williams coming off the bench during his loan period at Oxford United.
Germany (Bundesliga) – limited Aussie starts in the Bundesliga. Mitch Langerak filled in at goal for Dortmund’s first game, but is now back on the pine. Robbie Kruse is just starting to see some minutes off the bench at giant Bayer Leverkusen.
Germany (2.Bundesliga) – the prominent Aussie story so far has been the impressive form of Mathew Leckie at FSV Frankfurt. Two goals in his first five games of the campaign. Will be interesting to see how well he works well new loan signing Nikita Rukavytsya. Ben Halloran has not yet featured for Fortuna Dusseldorf, instead turning out for their reserves team.
Netherlands (Eredivisie) – two players to note in terms of their early season performances. Tommy Oar has been prominent providing assists for FC Utrecht, while seeing Jason Davidson getting a good run in the Heracles Almelo team is also encouraging. He recently scored his first league goal in five seasons.
Austria (Bundesliga) – James Holland is another player to resume where he left off last season, having started the club’s first seven fixtures. He has also played a role in qualifying for this seasons Champions League.
Belgium (Pro League) – the off-season transfer of Mat Ryan to Club Brugge seems to be paying immediate returns for both player and club. They are undefeated after six games with Mat Ryan the first choice keeper in each of those games.
Scotland (Premier) - Midfielder Dylan McGowan has started the season in the starting eleven at Hearts. U20 captain Jackson Irvine made the loan move to Kilmarnock and has been rewarded with senior football. Tom Rogic has been struggling to overcome injury in the first month of the season, but with his club also qualifying for the Champions League, we expect to see his name in the starting eleven shortly at Celtic.
Switzerland (Super League) – Oliver Bozanic has made a fantastic start at his new club, FC Luzern. He has now scored five goals in his seven appearances to be second on the Golden Boot charts. Dario Vidosic has just jetted in to FC Sion and made his debut immediately.
Croatia (1.HNL) – Adelaide born defender Tomislav Mrcela is finding his feet in the top flight. Having now made four appearances (three starts) early in the season. Another youngster unknown to many pundits is Steven Ugarkovic, who has now made his senior debut for NK Osijek while just 18 years of age.
Russia (Premier League) – over the month of August, Luke Wilkshire has worked his way back into the starting line-up at Dinamo Moscow.
USA (MLS) – two big pieces of news from an Australian perspective, both from the NY Red Bulls. Tim Cahill has returned from injury to scored his eighth goal in 22 starts. Although his injury is keeping out of the upcoming Socceroos game, can’t say I am too disappointed. The other is the debut of David Carney after a long period out of the game. Yes he was rusty first up, but would be great to see him return to form before the playoffs in November.
China (Super League) – a huge nine Aussie players starting each week in China. Hard to pick out highlights given they are all seeing good minutes, but Ryan McGowan continues to receive rave reviews at Shandong. Erik Paartalu is scoring reasonably frequently for Tian Teda and the form of Daniel McBreen at Shanghai SIPG has one questioning if he will be back for the Mariners campaign.
Japan (J League) – Josh Kennedy has now had a decent injury free run. This has resulted in him moving to 10 goals for the campaign and a club run that sees Nagoya Grampus well clear of relegation. Joining him in Japan is Socceroos captain Lucas Neill. After a few appearances from the bench, he finds himself in the starting eleven. A position he hopes to hold for the remainder of the season.
Korea (K League Classic) – the Aussie contingent is slowly finding their way back on the pitch. Alex Wilkinson has been a stand out for the rapidly improving Jeonbuk Motors, while Adrian Madaschi has returned from injury at Jeju United. Luke Devere is in and out of the Gyeongham FC line up.
Thailand (Premier League) – this league has suddenly become relevant from an Australian perspective. With Goran Subara (Bangkok Glass) and Kyle Nix (Chiangrai United) starting each week, and recent arrival Rocco Visconte making his debut at Suphanburi FC.
Uruguay – not to be forgotten, is marksman Richard Porta. Now in his fourth stint at Nacional, two goals in his first three games is a good start.
Injuries:- the off-season didn’t seem to be long enough for the medical rooms to be cleared. Kofi Danning (CS Vise) is back in Brisbane recovering from his knee injury. Carl Valeri (ankle) is nearing fitness and hoping to make his Serie A debut shortly. Rising Ascoli defender has cruelly been struck down, suffering a knee reconstruction during pre-season. Adam Sarota (Utrecht) continues his knee rehab as he races the clock for a berth to Brazil. Several of the younger brigade are hoping to be back on the pitch in September.
(UEFA Champions League) – with the qualifying period now complete, both James Holland (Austria Wien) and Tom Rogic (Celtic) have got to the main draw. Holland appearing during the qualifiers, but not Rogic.
(UEFA Europa League) our Aussies in this competiton (Lustica – Hajduk Split and Mat Ryan – Club Bruge) did not progress beyond the qualifiers.
(Asian Champions League) – no Aussies remain.
(AFC Cup) – no Aussies remain.
Reserves and Youth:-
Having just commenced their season, will wait for September for a review of our young stars performances.
International level:- No fixtures for the Socceroos during August, but on the back of the World Cup qualifiers and then the EAFF Cup, we have seen plenty of the team to start forming our squad for Brazil. Speaking of which, the friendly against Brazil is just days away and the stakes are as high as possible for those players looking to go to the World Cup. An interesting squad, and certainly nearing our best, with another opportunity against France coming up.
Socceroo (capped) of the month – a very even month with Leckie, Cahill and Ryan all having good claims, but in terms of importance of his role, this month would have to be Rhys Williams. Coming off a fairly average season by his standards, he is back the vengeance. Leading his team, putting in solid match performances, and ultimately being rewarded with a Socceroos recall.
Under (uncapped) the radar – a transfer from HAL Winners Central Coast Mariners to Switzerland would have raised a few eyebrows. Oliver Bozanic has hit the ground running, scored five goals since the start of the season. His name may well have been considered for Brazil, but given Holger's admission that numerous fringe players are being seriously scouted, perhaps his opportunity will come over the next few months. Arguably playing in the most competitive Socceroos position, will be an interesting selection dilemma.
Young player (U21) of the month - a little easier to pick this one, but Jackson Irvine has had a massive few months. Captaining the U20 WC team, a preseason clash with Steven Gerrard, then a loan deal to Kilmarnock where he has slotted straight into the starting eleven.