Wednesday, August 02, 2006

 

The Local 22

So then, we finally know the squad from which the eighteen players to face Kuwait will be chosen. And, folks, the news is not good.

Several players appear to have been chosen on little more than reputation, there are a number of surprising omissions, and the balance of the squad leaves much to be desired.

Let’s take a look at it, from back to front (as it were).

Clint Bolton and Danny Vukovic were clearly the outstanding goalkeepers of the A-League’s first season. No quibbles on that score.

Michael Valkanis enjoyed one fine run of form for Adelaide United, was picked for the squad to face Bahrain, and since then his form has clearly dipped. He was poor in the finals series, particularly against Sydney FC, and his inclusion ahead of the central defender who played majestically throughout the finals, Sydney’s Mark Rudan, beggars belief.

Iain Fyfe made a provisional Socceroo squad way back in mid-2005 after some fine pre-season efforts for Sydney FC. Has Graham Arnold actually seen any of Fyfe’s blunder-ridden performances since then, or has he just picked the young defender on the basis of past achievements?

Another one apparently picked on reputation is Jade North, who routinely appears in second-string Socceroo squads these days despite having done next to nothing to justify his reputation for quite some time.

I have never seen a squad with such an offensively-minded crop of midfield players. Every one of the eight midfielders is by inclination an attacker, with the exception of Newcastle’s Stuart Musialik; should he not be chosen to tidy up in front of the defence on August 16, the thought that Kevin Muscat or Iain Fyfe will be counted on at international level in midfield is not comforting.

Did Angelo Costanzo, so solid for Adelaide throughout last season, not come into consideration?

And does our new manager have something against right-sided players? Carney, Brosque, Dodd, Lazaridis and McKay are all best suited to the left. Who covers the right side, then? Spase Dilevski, maybe, but he is hardly a true winger.

Now we come to the forward line.

How can Mark Bridge, who failed even to make a good impression in the NSW state league, be picked ahead of the likes of Adam Kwasnik, who has been in such incisive form for the Central Coast Mariners in the pre-season? Not to mention Ante Milicic, still a finisher of class and poise, as he showed last year against Indonesia.

One final comment: I have mentioned earlier how disappointed I was at the lack of overseas-based players in the squad; with the start of the Italian season now to be delayed by two weeks, would it not be possible to secure the services of either Marco Bresciano or Vince Grella?

The current situation, in which we are obliged to rely on locally-based players, is, of course, far from ideal. But the squad picked by Graham Arnold is, in my opinion, even further from ideal.

Comments:
Pretty spot on, but Travis Dodd is far better suited to the right than the left. His left wing forays are similar to David Carney on the right - but without the swashbuckling attitude, almost arrogant sense of confidence and constant willing to back himself against any defender.
 
Apparently Dilevski's been doing very well on the right wing for Queensland during the pre-season (I think).

Who's going to be our central defenders? Fyfe and Valkanis? Who's going to hold the midfield? Muscat?! To be honest I wouldn't mind us actually dropping points in this game to show up how bad this squad is and the need for some overseas players at least.
 
...Who's going to be our central defenders? Fyfe and Valkanis?...

Pretty frightening isn't it...

...Who's going to hold the midfield? Muscat?!...

I sincererly hope not. Since when do you move from defence into midfield AFTER hitting 30? Can't see it working.

...To be honest I wouldn't mind us actually dropping points in this game to show up how bad this squad is and the need for some overseas players at least...

As I said in that earlier post, I do hope we win, but I also hope at least Arnie can see that we're going to need to do better for the home games against challenging opposition.

It's just a pity that we might have put on a reasonable show with a purely A-League squad, but this is nothing like the best we could have provided.
 
Prior to the Lebanese FAs announcement this week, a loss here wouldn't have been such a worry with four more matches, but the Arnie's chosen squad could really set the cat among the pidgeons in this group when we thought Australia was more or less qualified.

Of course we should avoid unnecessary conflict with clubs if possible, but this is becoming ridiculous, if only for the integrity of the fixture that 40,000 punters have coughed up their hard earned for.

On the subject of Bresciano and Grella, I seem to recall both players being allowed to play for Parma during the Confeds Cup last year when we had every right to call them up. Obviously Palermo don't owe the FFA, but you'd reckon Parma would do the right thing after the FFAs piece of generosity? Or am I being naive? ;)

Me no like this.

- TFO
 
Geez Mikey, it wasn't long ago that you were complaining about coaches playing two defensive midfielders, so I hardly think you have a right to complain about them playing none.
 
...On the subject of Bresciano and Grella, I seem to recall both players being allowed to play for Parma during the Confeds Cup last year when we had every right to call them up. Obviously Palermo don't owe the FFA, but you'd reckon Parma would do the right thing after the FFAs piece of generosity?...

Yeah, I remember that. TBH I thought the FFA were a bit spineless over that (especially since Greece called up Zagorakis, who was in precisely the same situation). I suspected at the time (and I still suspect) that Farina was being softened up for the sack at that stage and was getting very little support re player availability etc. But I may be misjudging them there.

Certainly we could do with a Grella in this squad.

...Geez Mikey, it wasn't long ago that you were complaining about coaches playing two defensive midfielders, so I hardly think you have a right to complain about them playing none....

Don't follow you mags.

I never complained about teams playing ONE defensive mid.

Anyway, that whole issue was about general style of play. This is about us fielding an effective team.
 
I was kidding Mikey, fnarr fnarr ;-)
 
...I was kidding Mikey, fnarr fnarr ;-)...

Ah. Have to adjust that irony antenna again... ;-)
 
David Carney > Brett Emerton
Stuart Musialik > Vince Grella
Brosquinho > Bresciano

This squad is fine - bar the ommission of Alex Wilkinson (Jade North should feel VERY lucky).
 
...David Carney > Brett Emerton
Stuart Musialik > Vince Grella
Brosquinho > Bresciano

This squad is fine...

Think we'll have to agree to disagree on that, Jaz, unless my irony antenna still hasn't been fixed. Do agree with you about Wilkinson, though, far more deserving than North.
 
Wilkinson would also provide additional cover for the centre of defence. The more flexibility in an 18-man squad the better.
 
Mike, as I replied on my site, agree about the lack of balance in the midfield, it is definitely top-heavy with attacking minded players, which is why Musialik was the only real option for me in the deep midfield role in picking an 11 from the 22....

http://roundballanalyst.blogspot.com/2006/08/arnolds-catch-22.html

McKay can also play box to box, but he's more a driving midfielder than someone who sits.

Muscat is an unknown quantity as an anchor in the A-league let alone at international level, and I'm not entirely convinced about defenders playing in midfield.

I have to say that Costanzo has probably been the best of the locals at adapting to the change from defence, but he's been doing it (on and off) for a while now, since Eddie Krncevic introduced him to midfield at Marconi in 2001.

If there's no Grella or any specialist o/s player available, Costanzo or Spencer would have been perfect, offering experience and quality.

Musialik has plenty of potential, and if it's he who lines up on August 16, here's hoping he grabs the opportunity. I'm looking forward to seeing who does grab their chance.
 
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