Ange Postecoglou has hailed the continued rise of Socceroos in the top leagues around the world, confident the trend will ensure the national team is a threat at the next World Cup.
Speaking at the announcement of his squad for next month’s FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh, Postecoglou admitted he’s been impressed with the amount of Socceroos now producing on the world stage.
The likes of Mat Leckie, Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Massimo Luongo, Tom Rogic and – more recently - Tomi Juric have become key contributors for their clubs around Europe.
“The pleasing thing for me is post the last World Cup we spoke about how we wanted to have more players playing in the top leagues around the world by the time the next World Cup comes along,” Postecoglou told reporters on Wednesday.
“The progress of the players over the last 12 months has been fantastic. Maty Leckie now is playing in one of the toughest leagues in the world [in the Bundesliga].
“[Socceroos assistant coach] Ante Milicic was over there watching last week and he said the pace and intensity of that league is incredible and Maty’s becoming a really important player...
“Guys like Massimo Luongo, Bailey Wright have gone up a division. Tomi Juric is now three goals in four games in the Dutch first division and that’s not to be scoffed at.
“All these guys are still in their early 20s and we need them to continue to push on and develop their careers because by the time the next World Cup comes along, I really want us to be sitting here with half our squad playing in the top leagues in the world.
“That will mean we’ll be a force.”
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