Why Australia must keep their best players in the A-League Men

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For the 2022 FIFA World Cup, only eight members of the 26-strong Socceroos squad currently play in the A-League Men.

And a batch of others, including captain Mat Ryan, have graduated from the domestic league to play worldwide. But what if all 26 were current ALM players?

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Why does this matter, you ask? If all 26 Socceroos were from the competition, it would have led to more success for the league.

Socceroo seeds need to be sown in Australia for the 2026 World Cup.

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The A-League Men has grown to the point that it offers talented homegrown players the opportunity to ply their trade for an overseas career. However, this should stop.

Qatar proved the viability of the ALM’s football credentials once and for all.

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A total of 21 of the 26-man World Cup squad have been through the A-Leagues at some point. The competition produces players good enough for the world stage. Proving there is no need for top players to depart from the league in order to succeed.

With multiple clubs now offering youth academy programs, the ALM should create a model that rewards clubs in state-based competition for developing players, ensuring a robust youth system, and bringing in better ways of governing the game.

A healthy A-League mEN is the foundation for the national team. It gives Australia the highest chance to progress deeper at the next World Cup and elevate the competition internationally.

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For decades Australian football has operated in the shadow of other major leagues, such as the English Premier League and this must end.

Australian players should not be conditioned to think they would have to make it in Europe if they dreamed of becoming top-class professionals. Instead, the focus should be on making it in the A-League Men.

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For instance, Garang Kuol is moving to Premier League side Newcastle United.

In reality, ALM clubs should be building their teams around players such as Kuol, Jason Cummings, Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, Marco Tilio (Melbourne City), Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United) and Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC).

Instead of sending top-class players abroad, it is imperative for the A-League Men to host them. Only then will the competition be recognised internationally.

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Feature Image Credit: Socceroos 

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Edith Yankuba
Edith Yankubahttps://www.afroaussiesandsuccess.com
A curious journalism student seeking knowledge from the world via stories and all things football. Covering the 2022/2023 A-League season for Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners.

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