Saturday, October 5, 2013

Aussies Abroad Month in Review -September 2013

Compiled By Damian Davies
All systems go across Europe with club competitions hotting up and the group stages reached for the Champions and Europa Leagues.  The leagues in the Middle East are back in season as the football in Asia nears the end of their seasons. Fairly quiet on the transfer front given the window is closed, but a few more players that were released over the northern hemisphere summer were able to find a new club during the month.  The Socceroos played Brazil in a forgettable game as the WC squad starts to takes shape.   

Transfers:-  some players with European experience moved to new clubs. Interesting to note the transfer of young forward Matthew Fletcher to current EPL club Hull City. Will see how he progresses in the Development Squad as he looks to get back into the national picture.  After playing his junior international football with Australia, Ersan Gulum has now debuted for Turkey.

Additions/changes to player database:
Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (10 Nov 1982) – loan from Preston North End to Burton Albion, England
Matthew Fletcher (12 May 1992) – transferred to Hull City, England
Billy Konstantinidis (21 Apr 1986) – transferred to Panserraikos, Greece

Removed from player database: 
Ersan Gulum (17 May 1987) – represented Turkey Sept 2013, congratulations.
Daniell Zeleny (19 Oct 1988) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

Club Level:-
England (Premiership) Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) continues to be the only Aussie starting in the Premier League at the moment.  He has been playing every minute each game.  Mark Schwarzer (Chelsea) and Brad Jones (Liverpool) continue on the bench waiting for their opportunities.  Chris Herd is yet to play this season at Aston Villa.

England (Championship) a fairly disappointing start to the season for our Aussies with their clubs generally sitting in the mid to lower places on the table.  Adding to that is the red cards recently received by Shane Lowry and Rhys Williams, resulting in some missed games.  Scott McDonald opened his scoring account at Millwall, hopefully the first of many as he tries to cement a starting position.  Not much else to report with Cisak (Burnley) and Federici (Reading) also on the bench.

England (League One)more positive for our Aussies in this league with Bailey Wright continuing to get rave reviews for his performances in defence at Preston North End.  James Meredith has continued his strong start to the new season at Bradford City.  Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town) had a dream cup tie against Chelsea and continues to play 90 minutes each game.  Similar game time for Bradden Inman at Crewe Alexandria.  James Wesolowski (Oldham Athletic) has been also seeing good minutes while Neil Kilkenny is in and out of the Bristol City team.

England (League Two)Ryan Williams made his debut at Oxford United during the month and marked the occasion with a goal.   

Germany (Bundesliga)the big story in September was the Robbie Kruse brace for Bayer Leverkusen.  His performance in his debut start was outstanding and will hopefully translate to more game time in the coming weeks. Mitch Langerak continued on the bench at Dortmund.

Germany (2.Bundesliga) – Mathew Leckie’s good form at FSV Frankfurt was rewarded with a Socceroos call up. After scoring his debut goal at the same club, Rukavytsya was also rewarded with a call up.

Netherlands (Eredivisie)continuing on that theme, Jason Davidson’s strong start to this campaign at Heracles Almelo saw him get the nod for the national team.  Tommy Oar has continued to grow at FC Utrecht were he has cemented his starting position.

Austria (Bundesliga) – James Holland is starting each game at Austria Wien, who are finding the going a little tougher this season.

Belgium (Pro League) Mat Ryan remains as first choice keeper at Club Brugge.  Keeping an impressive number of clean sheets and being named in the team of the week on several occasions.

Scotland (Premier)two young players receiving good minutes in this league are Jackson Irvine (Kilmarnock) and Dylan McGowan (Hearts).  Both are playing in the midfield.

Switzerland (Super League) the conditions in Switzerland appear to be favourable to Aussies with Oliver Bozanic (FC Luzern) and Dario Vidosic (FC Sion) carrying on the success that Scott Chipperfield and Ljubo Milicevic experienced in that league.
Greece (Super League) – young keeper Dean Bouzanis made his debut for Aris during the month, hopefully the first of many appearances this season.

Cyprus (1. Division) – Robert Stambolziev is impressing early in his new club career at AEK Kouklion, starting most games and scoring as well.

Iceland (3. Deild) – a mention to Victorian keeper Kile Kennedy who took the chance of moving to Iceland.  He played every minute in a season where his club KF Fjardabyggd gained promotion.  Hopefully that form will see the former US college player transfer to a higher level.

USA (MLS) the legend that is Tim Cahill continues to grow.  His scoring feats at New York Red Bulls over this season continue to be crucial in the run up to the finals.  David Carney is getting his match fitness back as he starts each game at the same club.

China (Super League) the Aussies in this league continue to play full games and impress.  Most notably over September being Eddy Bosnar (Guangzhou R&F), Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe), Michael Marrone (Shanghai Shenxin) and Erik Paartalu (Tianjin Teda).

Japan (J League) importantly for the national team, Josh Kennedy remains fit and playing each week at Nagoya Grampus.  Lucas Neill has made his way into the starting eleven at Omiya Ardija which is also great news for the Socceroos.

India (I-League) – this league has just commenced the new season, but plenty of Australian interest with ex A-League players Sean Rooney, Simon Colosimo and James Meyer all joining Tolgey Ozbey on opening day.

U.A.E (UFL) – also resuming a new season, Brett Holman, Billy Celeski and Milan Susak, all debuted for their new clubs.

Thailand (Premier League) journeyman Danny Invincibile has returned to the pitch at Army United after injury delayed his start to the season.  Joining Kyle Nix (Chiangrai United) and Goran Subara (Bangkok Glass) who are both starters and frequent scorers in that league.
Injuries:-   World Cup hopefuls Carl Valeri (Sassuolo) and Adam Sarota (FC Utrecht) are both nearing returns after long periods out.   Kofi Danning (knee) continues his rehabilitation under the watchful eye of the Brisbane Roar medical staff. We are yet to see Eli Babalj make an impact at AZA Alkmaar with his groin injury sidelining him for several weeks now.

Club Competitions:-
(UEFA Champions League) – several Aussie players featuring in this competition.  James Holland (Austria Wien) was the only starter, but Mitchell Langerak came off the bench for the red-carded Weidenfeller. Tom Rogic (Celtic) and Mark Schwarzer (Chelsea) sat on the bench for their respective teams.
(UEFA Europa League) – no Aussies appeared.

(Asian Champions League) – no Aussies remain.
(AFC Cup) – no Aussies remain

Reserves and Youth:-
A fairly decent represention of Aussies in the English U21 league again this season.  Starting with Aston Villa, and after appearing in the NextGen Series last season, 17 year old midfielder Jordan Lyden now finds himself in the U21’s.  Alex Grant has transferred to Stoke City and has been playing 90 minutes each game for the U21’s.  The recovery of Dylan Tombides is gathering momentum as he now starts for West Ham U21’s.  Players like Aaron Lennox (QPR) and Rob Paratore (Leicester City) continue to progress.

International level:-  A 6-0 drubbing from Brazil was not the greatest result, but seems to have forced a bit of a shake up to the squad.  Several new faces to the Socceroos squad for the upcoming friendlies against both France and Canada with numerous players rewarded for demonstrating strong club form.  The World Cup squad is certainly taking shape, and these games will be a great opportunity to assess the abilities of the likes of Davidson, Langerak and Leckie.  The U20’s have gathered in Malaysia for an upcoming tournament in October.

Socceroo (capped) of the monthI talked him up but why not, Tim Cahill continues to amaze.  He is an Everton legend, and will be forever be prominent in their history.  His recent performances for New York Red Bulls continue to defy those critics that thought he was aging and slowing down.  He is creating a legacy there, and his ability to recovery quickly from injury and return to make a significant impact was demonstrated again in September.  Not bad for a 33 year old, and will have a huge role in Brazil.  
August –

Under (uncapped)  – seems to be a lot of former Central Coast Mariners doing exceptionally well abroad.  This month I want to highlight former skipper Alex Wilkinson, now in Korea at Jeonuk Hyundai.  After a fairly slow start, he has hit his straps recently and put in numerous quality perfromances.  May be too late for the WC squad, but the next Asian Cup would have to be on the radar for the 29 year old.
August -

Young player (U21) of the month – the talent that is Chris Ikonomid is is starting to get some deserved recognition.  After progressing through the youth teams at Atalanta, Italian giants Lazio saw enough potential to sign im up.  Now featuring in their Primavera team each week, he is touted to move through the ranks quickly. Fantastic that the FFA have also acknowledged this by bringing him into the national set-up.  Like the rapid rise of Jackson Irvine, watch this space

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