Abrams can unite youth development

​Eric Abrams, on first impression, seems a good listener. Big plus. Australia's new technical director also seems genuinely humble, perhaps surprised, and certainly proud, of his new role.

The perception is he can't believe his luck that, at the age of 57, he finds himself in a country that was always on his bucket list doing a job he loves.

All good reasons to be hopeful that Abrams is perfectly equipped to meet the greatest challenge of the national curriculum: Implementation.

It's six years since the first curriculum was rolled out, and less than 12 months since an updated version was released.

Abrams won't be re-inventing the wheel - the 4-3-3 remains the mandated system for the elite pathway - but he will be working on what he describes as 'details'. Fair enough.

The doctrinal nature of the curriculum has been arguably its greatest weakness. If Abrams can create a bit of breathing space around the implementation process then he's a great chance of getting a more receptive audience.

Is this the end of the Dutch era? Probably. Rob Baan, and then Han Berger in his footsteps, brought the KNVB philosophy to Australia, and their greatest legacy is that we now have a structure, a system in place, which provides the foundation for the technical improvement of our game.

That is an achievement which should not be underestimated.

Where Berger and his protégés struggled was in their perception of our game. That nothing had been done before they arrived, and that Australians didn't understand the nuances of the game. In other words, we were a backwater, years behind the times.

We weren't. We aren't. What's been lacking has been a unity of vision, not football knowledge, or culture. It's a critical point of difference.

Much as Berger's era created a healthy debate about technical and tactical matters, it also became divisive. Those in the Dutch camp; and those who were not.

Abrams has the difficult task of patching up these differences if we are to see the curriculum blossom into its full potential. I'm backing him to get it right.

Abrams has been here before. For 14 years he was part of the Belgian youth system, from the ground-breaking Topsport program in Genk to the national youth team structure.

We all know about the enormous progress Belgium has made in that time. Abrams has played a part, at various times, in the development of many of the Belgian superstars of today, among them Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard, Thibault Courtois and Dries Mertens.

What excites Abrams is that the talent pool in Australia is much larger. The fact that he has a history in youth football - whereas Berger came from a senior club background - suggests he will be able to address the key weakness of our system - talent identification.

I've never bought the claim that we don't have talent coming through. We simply haven't been good enough in finding it.

Abrams role, among other things, is to work alongside the national coaches Ange Postecoglou and Alen Stajcic, not - theoretically - above them. My guess is Berger, now working for Sydney FC, would see this as a downgrade of the role. David Gallop vehemently denies this.

Either way what we know is that the national coaches will now have greater input into the teams which underpin them.

Postecoglou and Stajcic are delighted to have the extra responsibility. What it should do is create a much smoother progression from the national youth teams to the senior teams. Abrams will be a key figure in supporting these relationships.

Abrams's first priority will be to travel the country keeping his ear to the ground. He might like to consider gathering a group of tribal elders for an informal chat.

Coach education, for better or worse, has been in place here since 1973. Our game has a 134-year history, in which time the influences from abroad have been many and varied.

We are a melting pot of ideas, and philosphies. We are not one dimensional, as many prefer to believe.

If Abrams is to understand, and appreciate this culture, he could do worse than sit in a room with the likes of Raul Blanco, Les Scheinflug, Rale Rasic, Branko Culina, Steve O'Connor, Ron Smith and Miron Bleiberg - among others - and listen to what they have to say.

There is nothing to lose, and plenty to gain. To take the game forward, it's better to know where you've been.