The Hyundai A-League has been an important part of the development of this Caltex Socceroos squad, according to defender Matt Jurman.
Jurman is one of 18 players in Australia’s 23-man squad to have played in the Hyundai A-League, with all of them – with the exception of Tim Cahill – launching their careers in the competition.
Youngster Daniel Arzani (Melbourne City), Western Sydney Wanderers defender Josh Risdon and Newcastle Jets attacker Dimitri Petratos are three of Bert van Marwijk’s squad still playing in the Hyundai A-League.
Jurman, who played for both Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League, believes a strong showing by the Caltex Socceroos in Russia will prove how good the competition has been.
“Definitely, there’s a lot of boys that have come through the A-League and have done a good job," Jurman told reporters in Russia on the eve of the FIFA World Cup™ getting underway.
"They’ve moved overseas and still done well.
“I think the A-League has been a great stepping stone for me personally. I had a great time at Sydney FC when I was there in the last few years, so it’s great to see of these A-League boys now who are probably ready to move to the next step.”
One of the players that kick-started their career in the Hyundai A-League is striker Andrew Nabbout.
The 25-year-old, who is set to lead the attack against France on Saturday night, was playing in the Malaysian Premier League just a couple of years ago before re-igniting his career with the Newcastle Jets.
It was after a breakout 2017/18 Season with the Hunter club – where he scored 10 goals and had seven assists in 22 appearances – that Nabbout not only earned a move abroad but also get his shot with the Caltex Socceroos.
The speedy attacker, who now plies his trade with Urawa Reds in Japan, hailed Jets boss Ernie Merrick for turning his career around and helping him realise his FIFA World Cup™ dream.
“He propelled my game to the next level,” Nabbout said of Merrick.
“There’s some setbacks in everyone’s career but the moment that propelled me was Ernie coming in and really taking my game to the next level.”
Nabbout added: “I deserve to be here. I’ve done everything I can to be here.
“I’m going to go out there and enjoy the experience. We have a job to do against France, they are a big side and we’re ready for that test.
“But at the same time we have to go out there and enjoy it. It’s a World Cup experience after all. I’m going to go out there with a smile on my face, taking into account exactly where I have been and try and put in a solid shift.”