Best 5 A-League players who never played for the Socceroos

-

Donning the green and gold is the ultimate honour for Australian footballers. While the A-League has given rise to some Socceroos’ careers, many great players never got the chance to play for Australia.

Here are our top five:

5. Nigel Boogaard

Embed from Getty Images

Playing as a centre-back, Boogaard is as tough as nails.

Many may think of red cards when they think of him, as he holds the record for dismissals in the A-League with nine, but he is also a quality defender and has played 269 games in the A-League.

Many less talented A-League players have gotten the chance to pull on the green and gold. Surely worthy of an appearance at the East Asian Cup?

4. Isaias Sanchez

Embed from Getty Images

Similar to Christian Vieri or Craig Johnston, Isaias is a case of, what if?

Born in Catalonia, Isaias will be remembered in Australia as a Spanish footballer. He was cut from the Spanish midfield mould like Xavi and Iniesta, with an excellent range of passing and ability to read of the game.

Playing for Adelaide United, he won the club’s player of the season award four times. Despite his ability, he never got the chance to play for Spain and in 2019, he became an Australian citizen – making him eligible for Socceroos selection.

Sadly, he was 32 at this stage and the news came too late for Adelaide’s hero in the 2015/16 grand final.

Isaias will forever be remembered as one of the best foreigners to play in Australia. He would have been a quality player for the Socceroos. If only he was born here.

3. Mark Rudan 

Embed from Getty Images

Now flexing his muscles as a no-nonsense manager at Western United, Rudan was a quality centreback in his day.

Similar to his managerial style, he was a tough player and incredibly hard to beat at the back. His career saw him play overseas in Europe and Asia, before he returned to the A-League for the inaugural season in 2005/06 for Sydney FC, where he was a mainstay at the back.

Always a winner, Rudan will be forever remembered by the Sydney faithful for his goal against Adelaide that secured their place in the first ever grand final. While he was an aggressive defender, he was also calm on the ball and an excellent leader.

Rudan can count himself unlucky to have peaked during the ‘golden generation’ of Australian footballers, when Australia had a wealth of quality defenders.

2. Daniel McBreen

Embed from Getty Images

McBreen was relatively unknown by most A-League fans when he signed for North Queensland Fury in 2009 as a 32-year-old. He had previously played the majority of his career in the lower leagues of English football.

Playing as a striker, McBreen stood at 186cm tall and was a powerful player who could bring his teammates into play.

He was also blessed with a fantastic shot, and was a player from the ‘old school’ of strikers – much like a Mark Viduka. McBreen flourished in Australia, and won the golden boot while playing for the Central Coast Mariners in the 2012/13 A-League season.

He was close to a Socceroos appearance, as in 2010 he was named in a squad for an Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia, but was an unused substitute.

1. Ufuk Talay

Embed from Getty Images

Talay was a classy centre midfielder who was blessed with vision and a fantastic passing game.

Born in Sydney, Talay had a successful career overseas which saw him sign for Turkish giants Galatasaray as a 19-year-old. After 10 years in Europe, Talay returned to play for Sydney in the first season of the A-League, with the hope of finally representing Australia.

He was a hit at Sydney where he played a crucial role in the side’s championship in the 2005/06 season, playing as deep-lying midfielder. In 2008, Talay was called up by Pim Verbeek to a Socceroos training squad in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Cruelly for Talay, he did not make the final squad for those qualifiers and he never got to play for Australia. Like Rudan, Talay is unlucky to have played during the golden generation of footballers in Australia.

In today’s squad, he would surely be a starter. Just imagine him and Aaron Mooy in midfield…

Feature image credit: The Football Sack

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Latest Articles

Adam Sheldon
Full time football addict. Passionate about any sport with balls. Covering Sydney FC A-League and W-League teams for the upcoming season.
Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required