In our monthly Aussies Abroad wrap we take you through all the football action involving Australians playing overseas in the month of September.
It was all systems go across Europe in September, with club competitions hotting up and the group stage of the Champions and Europa Leagues commencing. The leagues in the Middle East are back in season, while football in Asia nears the end of their seasons.
It-s been fairly quiet on the transfer front, which is not surprising considering the window is closed, but a few players that were released over the northern hemisphere summer were able to find new clubs during the month. The Socceroos played Brazil in a forgettable game as our World Cup squad continues to takes shape.
Transfers - Some Aussie players with European experience moved to new clubs in September, most notably the transfer of young forward Matthew Fletcher to current EPL club Hull City. We-ll see how he progresses in the Development Squad as he looks to get back into the national picture. After playing his junior international football with Australia, Ersan Gulum has now debuted for Turkey, deeming him ineligible for his country of birth. Elsewhere Shane Cansdell-Sheriff has been loan from Preston North End to Burton Albion, who are currently in the fourth tier of English football. Billy Konstantinidis has been transferred to Panserraikos in Greece.
England (Premiership) - Mile Jedinak continues to be the only Aussie starting in the Premier League at the moment. He has played every minute of the league season for Crystal Palace. Mark Schwarzer (Chelsea) and Brad Jones (Liverpool) continue to warm the bench waiting for their opportunities, while Chris Herd is yet to play this season at Aston Villa.
England (Championship) - A fairly disappointing start to the season for our Aussies with their clubs generally sitting in the mid to lower places on the table. Adding to that is the red cards recently received by Shane Lowry and Rhys Williams, resulting in some missed games. Scott McDonald opened his scoring account at Millwall, hopefully the first of many as he tries to cement a starting position. Not much else to report with Cisak (Burnley) and Federici (Reading) also occupying the bench.
England (League One) - More positive news for our Aussies in England-s third tier, with Bailey Wright continuing to get rave reviews for his performances in defence at Preston North End. James Meredith has continued his strong start to the new season at Bradford City. Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town) had a dream cup tie against Chelsea and continues to play 90 minutes each game. Bradden Inman is another player getting regular game time at Crewe Alexandria. James Wesolowski (Oldham Athletic) has also been seeing good minutes, while Neil Kilkenny is in and out of the Bristol City team.
England (League Two) - Ryan Williams made his debut at Oxford United during the month and marked the occasion with a goal.
Germany (Bundesliga) - the big story in September was the Robbie Kruse brace for Bayer Leverkusen. His performance in his debut start was outstanding and will hopefully translate to more game time in the coming weeks. Mitch Langerak continues to be a reserve at Dortmund, although he made a couple of appearances in the Champions League in the last fortnight.
Germany (2.Bundesliga) - Mathew Leckie-s good form at FSV Frankfurt was rewarded with a recent Socceroos call up. Teammate Nikita Rukavytsya has also been named in Australia-s squad for upcoming internationls, following his debut goal.
Netherlands (Eredivisie) - Continuing on that theme, Jason Davidson-s strong start to his Holland campaign at Heracles Almelo saw him get the nod for the national team. Tommy Oar has continued to grow at FC Utrecht were he has cemented a starting position.
Austria (Bundesliga) - James Holland is playing every game at Austria Wien, although they-ve endured a tough start to the season both at home and in the Champions League.
Belgium (Pro League) - Mat Ryan remains first choice keeper at Club Brugge, keeping an impressive number of clean sheets and being named in the team of the week on several occasions.
Scotland (Premier) - Two young players receiving good minutes in this league are Jackson Irvine (Kilmarnock) and Dylan McGowan (Hearts). Both are playing in the midfield.
Switzerland (Super League) - The conditions in Switzerland appear to be favourable to Aussies with Oliver Bozanic (FC Luzern) and Dario Vidosic (FC Sion) carrying on the success that Scott Chipperfield and Ljubo Milicevic experienced there.
Greece (Super League) - Young keeper Dean Bouzanis made his debut for Aris during the month, hopefully the first of many appearances this season.
Cyprus (1. Division) - Robert Stambolziev is impressing early in his new club career at AEK Kouklion, starting most games and scoring as well.
Iceland (3. Deild) - A mention to Victorian keeper Kile Kennedy who took the chance of moving to Iceland. He has played every minute in a season where his club KF Fjardabyggd gained promotion. Hopefully that form will see the former US college player transfer to a higher level.
USA (MLS) - The legend that is Tim Cahill continues to grow. His scoring feats at New York Red Bulls over this season continue to be crucial in the run up to the finals. David Carney is getting his match fitness back and seems to have nailed down a starting spot at his new club.
China (Super League) - The Aussies in this league continue to play full games and impress. Most notably over September being Eddy Bosnar (Guangzhou R&F), Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe), Michael Marrone (Shanghai Shenxin) and Erik Paartalu (Tianjin Teda).
Japan (J League) - importantly for the national team, Josh Kennedy remains fit and playing each week at Nagoya Grampus. Lucas Neill has made his way into the starting eleven at Omiya Ardija which is also great news for the Socceroos.
India (I-League) - This league has just commenced the new season, but has plenty of Australian interest with former A-League players Sean Rooney, Simon Colosimo and James Meyer all joining Tolgey Ozbey on opening day.
U.A.E (UFL) - Also resuming a new season, Brett Holman, Billy Celeski and Milan Susak, all debuted for their new clubs.
Thailand (Premier League) - Journeyman Danny Invincibile has returned to the pitch at Army United after injury delayed his start to the season. He joined Kyle Nix (Chiangrai United) and Goran Subara (Bangkok Glass) who are both starters and frequent scorers in the league.
Injuries - World Cup hopefuls Carl Valeri (Sassuolo) and Adam Sarota (FC Utrecht) are both nearing returns after long periods out. Kofi Danning (knee) continues his rehabilitation under the watchful eye of the Brisbane Roar medical staff. We are yet to see Eli Babalj make an impact at AZA Alkmaar with his groin injury sidelining him for several weeks now.
Reserves and Youth - A fairly decent represention of Aussies in the English U21 league again this season. Starting with Aston Villa, and after appearing in the NextGen Series last season, 17 year old midfielder Jordan Lyden now finds himself in the U21-s. Alex Grant has transferred to Stoke City and has been playing 90 minutes each game for the U21-s. The recovery of Dylan Tombides is gathering momentum as he now starts for West Ham U21-s. Players like Aaron Lennox (QPR) and Rob Paratore (Leicester City) continue to progress.
International level - A 6-0 drubbing from Brazil was not the greatest result, but seems to have forced a bit of a shake up to the squad. Several new faces have been added to the Socceroos for the upcoming friendlies against both France and Canada, with numerous players rewarded for demonstrating strong club form. The World Cup squad is certainly taking shape, and these games will be a great opportunity to assess the abilities of the likes of Davidson, Langerak and Leckie. The Young Socceroos are currently in Malaysia for the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers.
Socceroo of the month - I talked him up but why not, Tim Cahill continues to amaze. He is an Everton legend and will forever be prominent in their history. His recent performances for New York Red Bulls continue to defy critics that thought he was aging and slowing down. He is creating a legacy there, and his ability to recover quickly from injury and return to make a significant impact was demonstrated again in September. Not bad for a 33-year-old who will no doubt have a huge role in Brazil.
One to Watch - There seems to be a lot of former Central Coast Mariners doing exceptionally well abroad. This month I want to highlight former skipper Alex Wilkinson, now in Korea at Jeonuk Hyundai. After a fairly slow start, he has hit his straps recently and put in numerous quality performances. It may be too late for the World Cup squad, but the Asian Cup the following year would have to be on the radar for the 29 year old.
Young player (U-21) of the month - The talent that is Chris Ikonomid is starting to get some deserved recognition. After progressing through the youth teams at Atalanta, Italian giants Lazio saw enough potential to sign him up. Now featuring in their Primavera team each week, he is touted to move through the ranks quickly. Fantastic that the FFA have also acknowledged this by bringing him into the national set-up. Much like the rapid rise of Jackson Irvine - watch this space.
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