Australia head coach Ange Postecoglou. Photo AAP Image.
Australia head coach Ange Postecoglou. Photo AAP Image.

Debate on cutting older Socceroos rekindled

IT has happened before and no doubt it will happen again, but the likely end of Lucas Neill's international career has sparked debate across the country about when the right time to cut the cords for our older and more experienced Socceroos is.

The fact that Neill has been the Socceroos captain for such a long time has only heightened the dilemma facing coach Ange Postecoglou ahead of the World Cup in Brazil.

Wednesday marked 100 days until the tournament kicks off and Postecoglou has until May to finalise an initial squad of 30.

Neill, 35, could yet make that squad, and even the final one of 23 which will be chosen just ahead of the first game against Chile on June 13.

But the more youthful names in Postecoglou's squad for next week's friendly in London against Ecuador and, more importantly, the absence of Neill and other experienced players including Mark Bresciano, Sasa Ognenovksi, Josh Kennedy and Brett Holman, suggests which way Postecoglou will go for the Brazilian adventure and beyond.

Postecoglou chose four new faces - Curtis Good (Dundee United), Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town) and Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf) for next week's game.

The quartet has all represented Australia at U20 level, but could see their first action at senior level against the Ecuadorians.

With an average age of just over 21, Postecoglou has identified these four talented youngsters as prospective parts of his next golden Socceroos generation.

Whether they can have the same impact as the likes of Neill, Tim Cahill and former stars Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer and Mark Viduka is another thing, but you have to admire the way Postecoglou is going about things.

He is in a Catch 22 situation as far as fans go.

The coach could have quite easily stuck with the old guard for this World Cup and Socceroos supporters could have got on his case about players being too slow and too old if things did not go to plan.

He could also be bitten on the backside if he goes with an inexperienced squad and the team takes beatings against the likes of Spain and Holland.

But I like the road Postecoglou is going down.

What he is saying is that there is no real point in going to Brazil with an older, experienced team and getting beaten as no one would have learned anything.

However, if he goes with a more youthful and inexperienced outfit, even if the side is defeated badly at the World Cup everyone would see just how much work is needed to get the Socceroos up to scratch.

Personally, I think the time is right to move on but I just hope that fans stick with Postecoglou as he begins this important journey.

It will take time to get things right and it might take until after this World Cup for that to happen.

Until then everyone must be patient and not think the next golden generation will just turn up.

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