Then vs Now: Where are our overseas based Aussies playing?

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Much has been made of Australia’s failure to produce top quality players in recent years particularly in comparison to the abundance harvested from its “Golden Generation”.

When the Socceroos defeated Honduras a few weeks ago just three of its twenty-three-man squad were regular starters in top European leagues.

In contrast when Guus Hiddink announced Australia’s 2006 World Cup Squad fifteen of the twenty-three players were starting and in some cases starring in either the English Premier League, Serie A, Eredivisie or La Liga.

In lieu of these statistics we set out to find exactly where Australia’s current overseas players are plying their trade. (data from ozfootball)

Unsurprisingly England (41) is home to almost half of our overseas based players but it’s interesting to see Holland’s Eredivisie, a league unanimous with technical ability sit in second.

One wonders if this is a result of the free-flowing football instilled by defiant ex-coach Ange Postecoglou over the past few years.

Korea (7), Scotland (6) and Japan (6) round out the top five most popular destinations and alongside China (4) highlight Australia’s recent influence on Asian Football aided by its 2015 Asian Cup Triumph.

As eluded to these statistics tell a vastly different narrative to that of the golden generation which oozed quality from all cylinders.

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A truly telling statistic is the sixteen players who started regularly in the England’s top division in comparison to the three that currently do.

In addition, in 2006 Italian based players Vince Grella and Marco Bresciano were integral parts of and Parma and Palermo respectively whilst John Aloisi would net 16 goals for La Liga outfit Alaves.

Meanwhile in the recent victory over Syria Australia relied largely on 37-year-old Tim Cahill – a player who currently can’t find a spot in an A-League side’s starting eleven – to rescue them with two goals.

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Furthermore, in analyzing the clear disparity in class between current and previous squads it seems unfathomable that Postecoglou who still managed to qualify for the World Cup received unrelenting criticism throughout his tenure.

Statistics don’t tell the whole story sometimes but in this scenario, it appears certain to name Tim Cahill as the last of the Socceroos golden generation in which a vast majority played their football in Europe’s finest leagues.

 

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Connor Gibbons
Connor Gibbons
Football fan and digital communications officer following Perth Glory during the 2017/2018 A-League season.

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