Looking back, I find it hard believe that the world cup was well over a year ago. Australia lost out in the group stages for the 3rd consecutive year but hey at least they made it.
However, are we not at the point now where we can say “At least we made it” is not good enough anymore? Today the Socceroo’s squad for the upcoming world cup qualifiers against Nepal and Chinese Taipei was announced and I will be honest there were a few surprises.
Firstly, where is Ikonomidis? Or Martin Boyle . Both haven’t played much I understand that, but neither has Craig Goodwin… and given the choice between the two I know who I would pick.
Then there is the curious case of Mark Milligan. Milligan is now 34 years old. That means that at the 2022 world cup he will be nearly 37 years old. Now I am not sure if its in Australia’s plan to have him there or even if its in his plan but how useful will he be after another 3 years of playing. Not only that but he is playing in League 1 in England that is a 46-game competition, Plus Cup games. That’s a lot of work for a now 34 year old and I know he probably isn’t going to play every game but still the point remains. Is he physically going to be able to make it 2022?
If he is not in the picture for 2022 then he shouldn’t be there. Australia as a team do not have that many matches over the course of the year. They need to use the time they have efficiently and wisely. Someone like Josh Brilliante, Brandon O’Neil or someone of that age who in 3 years’ time will be in the prime of their careers.
Overall, I think it is a good squad, there were just a few eyebrow raisers from my point of view that I saw. They should beat both Nepal and Chinses Taipei, anything other than 6 points from those two games would be considered a huge surprise. Australia does not want to go the long way round for qualification like they did last time and that might be the idea as to why such an experienced player like Milligan is there. There is no point planning for the World Cup if you don’t even get there.