Balance of experimentation and experience

The announcement of today's Socceroos squad for the game against Ecuador in London is significant on two fronts.

The announcement of today's Socceroos squad for the game against Ecuador in London is significant on two fronts.

Firstly, it gives this group of players the opportunity to stake a claim for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil but for me it also represents our first steps in what I believe could be the next golden era for Australian football.

My recent trip overseas and close observation of our players both here and abroad has convinced me that with a disciplined and more importantly brave approach, we can build a side that will have the capability to emulate the great deeds of teams past.

While it is true that we have less players playing in the top leagues that in the past, it is also relevant to know that we have a number who are beginning to lay a good foundation in launching their own assault on the highest levels of the game. There is a number of young Australians who are establishing themselves at different levels of European football while in Australia the Hyundai A-League is improving all the time and giving others a great launching pad to build a career.

My view is that in four years we may have more Australians playing in the top leagues than ever before if there is clear direction and ambition. Players need to be ambitious in their thinking while at National team level we need to ensure that opportunity is there for those who show consistency and drive regardless of age or status of the League they play in.

This next 12 months are crucial in terms of where we will be in four years time. Today's squad represents the acknowledgment that we are on the eve of playing in the world's biggest tournament and there will need to be a balance of experimentation and experience to tackle this. It is also an indicator of where we are heading with the majority of players selected being rewarded for playing consistent football and showing that age and limited International experience are not barriers to opportunity.

Overall I have been encouraged over the last couple of months by what lays immediately before us but more importantly I am excited by where I believe we will end up in years to come. All that is needed is the courage both on and off the field to tackle the big challenges ahead and not be distracted from our path.

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The match against Ecuador in London will be LIVE & exclusive on Fox Sports 3. Coverage begins at 6.30am AEDT on Thursday 6 March 2014 with kick-off at 7am.