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Focus is certainly shifting to the World Cup. We have seen the manger issue resolved, the team has played a friendly against Costa Rica, and now we watch intently what our Aussies Abroad are doing. Lucas Neill has been released, Mat Ryan continues to keep clean sheets and Carl Valeri is nearing a return to Serie A. What does this all mean for our Socceroos squad? In club football, the Asian Leagues are winding down and some European leagues are entering winter breaks, still plenty of action in November. The number of Aussies overseas is now close to 200. A steady flow of more Aussies continue to move abroad, and we are in group stages of the European Champions League.
Transfers:- Malaysia is in pre-season now, and has become a go-to destination. When the season starts in January, we look like having half a dozen Aussies playing in the Super League. A number of players with A League experience have headed abroad as well.
Additions/changes to player database:
Harry Ascroft (1 Jul 1995) - transferred to VVV Venlo, Netherlands
Marc Belteky (28 Dec 1997) - transferred to Puskas Ferenc, Hungary
Richie Cardozo (28 Mar 1986) - transferred from Rockdale City Suns to Waitakere United, New Zealand
Jonathan Farber (15 Mar 1988) - transferred to FSV Erlangen-Bruck II, Germany
Matt Foschini (19 Oct 1990) - transferred to Salgoacar, India
Brendan Gan (3 June 1988) - transferred from Rockdale City Suns to Kelantan, Malaysia
Pasquale Gioffe (1 Jan 1995) - transferred to Reggina, Italy (Primavera)
Mario Karlovic (29 May 1984) - transferred from Persebaya Surabaya to Terengganu FA, Malaysia
Neil Kilkenny (19 Dec 1985) - loan to Preston North End, England
Harley Orr (28 Mar 1995) - transferred from CFR Cluj II to APS Zakynthos, Greece
Savas Ozdemir (11 Oct 1988) - transferred to 1930 Bafraspor, Turkey
Steve Pantelidis (17 Aug 1983) - transferred from Perth Glory to Selangor, Malaysia
Adriano Pellegrino (9 Jun 1984) - transferred to Kedah, Malaysia
David Rowley (6 Feb 1990) - transferred from Chumpon FC to Nara United, Thailand
Removed from player database:
German Cabrera ( Vasco SC) - uncontracted, whereabouts unknown
Kofi Danning (CS Vise) - transferred to Brisbane Roar
Dino Djulbic (Al Wahda) - uncontracted, whereabouts unknown
Sasa Macura (MTK Budapest II) - uncontracted, whereabouts unknown
Nicholas Tarasenko (Portsmouth) - uncontracted, whereabouts unknown
England (Premiership) – Mile Jedinak is clearly highly regarded at Crystal Palace. Not only is he club captain, but he has now signed a 3 ½ year extension at the London club. Two recent wins, with Jedinak still playing every minute of the season, has seen them move off the foot of the table. Keepers Mark Schwarzer and Brad Jones remain on the bench at their respective clubs. Chris Herd’s lack of game time at Aston Villa is a concern, he may need to look to a loan deal if he is to get a look in at national level.
England (Championship) – a little light on this month. Rhys Williams has just returned to the starting eleven at Middlesbrough, hopefully now we will see an injury free run of good performances. Our Aussies at Millwall had a mixed month in November. Scott McDonald is now seeing more game time, while team mate Shane Lowry made just one start during the month. Goalkeepers Adam Federici (Reading) and Alex Cisak (Burnley) spent the month on the bench.
England (League One) – several very positive stories at this level. Bailey Wright continues his great season, not missing a minute for Preston North End as they remain in the hunt for automatic promotion. James Meredith is a mirror image from a stats perspective, but his club have dropped a few points of late. Could this two be paired in the Socceroos defence in the future? Young midfielder Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town) had an outstanding month, scoring another 3 goals in a campaign that has seen him start every game. Fantastic to see James Wesolowski having a good run of starts at Oldham Athletic, while Bradden Inman has been critised in the media for his attitude of late and has dropped out of the squad at Crewe.
England (League Two) - veterans of English football, Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (Burton Albion) and Aaron Downes (Torquay United) are starters each week for their respective clubs. Fulham loanee Ryan Williams is hitting his straps at table topping Oxford United. Now featuring regularly in the starting eleven and scoring twice during the month.
Germany (Bundesliga) – no doubt Robbie Kruse is benefitting from his experiences at Bayer Leverkusen, but would be great to see him get more game time as he seems to excel when he starts. Mitch Langerak continues on the bench at Dortmund. Both clubs are chasing Bayern Munich who have only dropped 2 points nearly halfway through the season.
Germany (2.Bundesliga) – not a huge month for Leckie and Rukavytsya at FSV Frankfurt with a combination of international duty and minor injuries. Promising though to see Ben Halloren crack the starting line-up at Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Germany (3. Bundesliga) - worth noting the solid month from Mustafa Amini in the reserves at Borussia Dortmund. A big ask to get into the seniors, but he is making good progress.
Netherlands (Eredivisie) – pleasing also to see both Tommy Oar (Utrecht) and Jason Davidson (Heracles) both firmly entrenched in their respective starting elevens.
Austria (Bundesliga) – although James Holland had a suspension to serve during the month, he still managed to see football in the domestic league, Champions League and the Socceroos.
Belgium (Pro League) – arguable the bolter in terms of the Socceroos this year, Mat Ryan has been a rock in goal with a huge number of clean sheets. After getting a start against Costa Rica, has he rocketed to our number one keeper?
Scotland (Premier) – both Dylan McGowan (Hearts) and Celtic loanee Jackson Irvine (Kilmarnock) continue to start each week. Very limited minutes for Tom Rogic at Celtic may see him look for a loan deal in the lead up to the World Cup.
Switzerland (Super League) –after a blitzering start to his career at Luzern, Oliver Bozanic has had to settle for 90 minutes each week but no goals, not a bad result. A recent injury will see him sidelined for a few months. Dario Vidosic (FC Sion) also continues to progress well. Having taken his goal tally to four this season.
Croatia (1.HNL) - Adelaide born centre back Tomislav Mrcela is now starting each game at Hrvatski Dragovoljac. While 19 year old Sydney born Steven Ugarkovic has made 7 appearances at Osijek, after appearing in the Croatian U19 team earlier in the year.
Greece (Super League) - Apostolis Giannou has been progressing well, scoring his first two goals at his new club Panionios Athens. Dean Bouzanis waits patiently for his chance in goal at Aris.
Greece (Gamma Ethniki) - mention to tall striker Billy Konstantinidis who leads the Golden Boot in this league. He is now at Panserraikos.
Cyprus (1. Division) – unheralded young striker Robert Stambolziev has now started 10 of his clubs 11 fixtures this season in a season where his team are struggling.
Russia (Premier League) - Luke Wilkshire is back playing 90 minutes of club football each week at Dinamo Moscow. Will be interested to see if that is enough to force his way back into the Socceroos.
USA (MLS) – all our Aussies made the playoffs, but unfortunately were knocked out before reaching the final.
Japan (J League) – Josh Kennedy has quietly played over 2000 minutes and scored 12 goals this season at Nayoga Grampus.
Korea (K-League Classic) - with the season just ending, need to acknowledge our Aussies. Rob Corthwaite (Chunnan Dragons) 22 appearances, 692 minutes, 1 goal; Luke DeVere (Gyeongham) 9 appearances, 543 minutes; Adrian Madaschi (Jeju United) 9 appearances, 592 minutes; Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai) 25 appearances, 2165 minutes and 2 goals. Neither Brendan Hamill or Nathan Burns played a minute. Fair to say, expect a bit of turnover here. Wilkinson was the standout.
India (I-League) – our Aussies in this league, Rooney (Bengaluru), Colosimo (Dempo), Meyer (Pune), Foschini (Salgoacar) and Ozbey (Mohammedan) all continue to play good minutes.
Phillipines (UFL) - several Aussies find themselves playing in the Phillipines these days, Jesse Martindale has been a frequent scorer for Green Archers United while Scott Baginski is starting for Kaya FC.
Qatar (Stars League) - the biggest news is the FIFA suspension and subsequent appeal by Mark Bresciano. Fingers crossed this doesn't impact his WC preparations. Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) is back playing after serving a suspension.
U.A.E (UFL) – the Aussie contigent of Brosque and Holman will need to start having more of an influence if they are to get back into World Cup calculations. While Billy Celeski (Al Shaab) and Milan Susak (Al Wasl) have been experiencing injury interupted campaigns.
New Zealand (Premiership) - having just commenced the new season, Richie Cardozo (Waitakere United) is leading the Golden Boot with 3 goals in his first 4 games. While young midfielder and former US college player Jamie de Abreu has started every game at Team Wellington.
Injuries:- "getting closer" has to be the key for the month with Carl Valeri and Adam Sarota nearing their returns to senior football. Other notable injuries are Nikita Rukavytsya with a minor knne injury, Oliver Bozanic suffering a serious ankle injury and Eli Babalj continuing to struggle with a groin problem.
(UEFA Champions League) – limited game time for Robbie Kruse at Bayer Leverkusen and more time on the bench for Mark Schwarzer as Chelsea moved top of their group. Similar for Mitch Langerak but their next tie will decide if they progress to the knockout games. James Holland saw another 2 ninety minutes games out, which was great experience, but Austria Wien will not progress. Tom Rogic saw a few minutes against AC Milan but also won't be progressing.
(UEFA Europa League) – no Aussies appeared.
Reserves and Youth:-
This month worth acknowledging the progress of several up and comers. At Aston Villa, Thomas Strain has found himself in the U21's as a seventeen year old. Welsh junior Getin Jones is winning MOM awards at Everton U21's. Brad Smith has been standing out at Liverpool U21's, with rumours he may switch his allegiance from England to Australia. At Blackburn, Hyuga Tanner is seeing game time in the U18's.
While Ryan Go continues to progress in his apprenticeship at Feyenoord.
International level:- the Socceroos face a massive 8 months as players jostle for spots on the plane. We could only have 4-5 positions up for grabs realistically, so will be enthralling to see who prevails. On the goalkeeper front, Schwarzer's international retirement opens the door for not only another keeper, but spices up the battle for number one.
Socceroo (capped) of the month –another player to have transferred to Europe during the Eurpoean off-season, Mat Ryan won't be at Club Brugge for too long if his current form continues. Eight clean sheets in seventeen league starts is amazing for a guy that was no certainty to be first choice keeper.
Sept – Cahill, Oct - Vidosic
Under (uncapped) - pleasingly for the Socceroos, several players could be mentioned here, but the standout for the month would have to be Massimo Luongo. Captain of the Tottenham Development Squad last season, a brave move to transfer to a League One club. He has featured prominately this month, and has banged in a few goals as well.
Sept - Wilkinson, Oct - Konstantinidis
Young player (U21) of the month – based purely on his impact at a senior level, Ryan Williams is making the most of his loan deal at Oxford United. Recently turning 20, he is started and scoring at the league leaders.
Sept - Ikonomidis , Oct - Ugarkovic