Socceroos coach Graham Arnold believes a lack of structure, rather than money, has resulted in Australian talent failing to hit the heights of the ‘golden generation’.
The squad that beat Uruguay to reach the 2006 World Cup finals featured 16 players from Europe’s top leagues. The side included Premier League players Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Mark Schwarzer, Brett Emerton and Lucas Neill as well as Spain-based John Aloisi and Italy-based Mark Bresciano.
In contrast, Arnold’s squad that faced Nepal and Taiwan in World Cup qualifiers last month had two Premier League players – Brighton pair Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy – as well as Bundesliga-based Mathew Leckie and Brandon Borrello.
Most of Arnold’s players ply their trade in lower-ranked European leagues – such as the Scottish Premiership and England’s lower-tiers – or in Asia.