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Ange to A-League: Play the kids or risk destroying their careers

Soccer

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has implored A-League coaches to follow his lead and put more faith in Australia's youth, or risk leaving genuine talent to rot.

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After his shock inclusion of 18-year-old Adelaide rookie Riley McGree in this month’s World Cup qualifying squad, Postecoglou bemoaned the lack of young up-and-comers given a chance in the top flight at home.

“In football worldwide, part of the excitement is young players breaking through,” he said.

“You’d like to think we’d get half-a-dozen every year but we haven’t really had any of that.

In Australia, between the ages of 18 and 21, they don’t play enough senior football

“In the case of some young players we wait too long, we need to throw them in a bit earlier.

“It’s tough in our condensed league but I’d like to see more.

“The lesson learnt is that in Australia, between the ages of 18 and 21, they don’t play enough senior football.

“And in many respects that destroys a lot of careers, or at least hampers the ability to play at the highest level.”

Postecoglou has already flagged Melbourne City centre-back Ruon Tongyik as another future Socceroo and revealed the Sudanese-born 20-year-old may well have made this squad but for some paperwork issues.

His aim is to eschew any notional links between age and ability, and instead incentivise young players who possess raw talent and ambition.

“I’ve had the radar up for a while now for someone young to give an opportunity to,” Postecoglou said.

“We’ve done it with guys like Danny De Silva and others in the past, but again they’ve suffered from a lack of game time in that critical age bracket.

“Hopefully Riley getting in and getting some recognition means maybe Adelaide will give him an extended run.”

Postecoglou has opted to keep his regulars on their toes by opening the door for the less-established Aziz Behich and uncapped duo Mustafa Amini and Jimmy Jeggo.

They will join the squad in Tehran from Sunday in preparation for Thursday week’s clash with Iraq, before flying to Sydney to play the UAE at Allianz Stadium the following Tuesday.

-AAP

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