Time to talk up the Hyundai A-League

As Ange Postecoglou explained this week, no-one watches more football than him.

The Caltex Socceroos boss observes leagues and players far and wide, both online and live. 

It’s all part of a meticulous scouting and analysis of Australian players and opposition by the national team’s coaching staff.

So, when Postecoglou says we need to talk up our players and league, you can take his word for it.

“It can be hard watching some of these overseas leagues, the football is not that great,” he noted after the most recent Socceroos squad announcement.

“The A-League as a competition stands up pretty well so if a player is doing well in the A-League there’s a good chance they’ll do well overseas.

"The fact is overseas clubs haven’t woken up to that yet…the smart ones will.”

The Boss has spoken, we should listen. And he’s backed this up with his selections. 

Aaron Mooy was thrown into the national team last year and was an instant regular while at Melbourne City before his transfer to Manchester City. 

Likewise Roar’s Matt McKay has never let his nation down while Alex Gersbach made a sensational debut during his time in a Sydney FC shirt (the attacking left back is now wowing them at Rosenborg).

And both Craig Goodwin and Stefan Mauk from Adelaide were called up this year before Europe called for the pair.

Sure, Tim Cahill was named in the latest squad for September’s World Cup qualifiers – the only A-League player - but as Postecoglou pointed out the likes of Perth Glory’s Josh Risdon, Roar’s Jamie Maclaren and Victory’s Jason Geria are in the middle of their off-season.

This trio and others will get their chance to step up when they get some competitive games under their belts.

This lack of bravado, hubris even, feeds off a broader mindset, something that the former Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar boss wants changing.

“We don't talk about ourselves. As I've always said we don't talk about ourselves here so I don't know why we'd expect people overseas to do that,” he told me recently.

Read the full interviews, part one here and part two here

“There's no point seeking validation from others. We've got to be comfortable in our own skin and back ourselves.”

And Australia’s shop-front competition, the Hyundai A-League is being backed in the transfer market.

Just have a look at the quality of imports this season. Not just Cahill as the face of the league at Melbourne City but across the board.

In Brisbane they’ve brought in Danish international midfielder Thomas Kristensen, Phoenix acquired former Serie A Italian defender Marco Rossi while Glory re-signed former La Liga star Diego Castro and brought in Rhys Williams from England.

Neil Kilkenny, in my opinion, will be one of the best players in the league this season. Some smart business by City while Wanderers have their own Uruguayan Bruno in defensive midfielder Bruno Pinatares, who joins Robbie Cornthwaite at the red and black this season. 

Defender Alan Baro has joined Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC acquired former Fiorentina player Josh Brillante while strikers Wayne Brown and the ambitious Aleksandr Kokko are now Jets.

Plus, returning faces such as Bernie Ibini at the Sky Blues and Luke Brattan with City add another layer of quality to the league.  

What’s more, with speculation German international Kevin Kuranyi and Brazilian Bobo could be in A-League shirts this summer, we should be talking-up our national competition. 

This is an exciting time to be an A-League fan. As Ange says, it stacks up very well against leagues around the world.

And with a salary cap league, who knows who’ll lift the A-League Championship trophy next May. 

See you on the terraces from October 7.