The other day on Twitter I mentioned that I could assemble a squad with unsigned Aussies, National Premier League talent and five visa signings that could go close to winning the A-League. It was a big call because the A-League is a good standard but with just ten teams there is room in the talent pool to put together a competitive side, well at least in my opinion.
I have adhered to the 2.55 million dollar salary cap and the 23 player roster limit to assemble a good mix of youth and experience. I have chosen a rather young squad because I also took into consideration the sell-on factor in order to raise revenue in the future (yes, I know that is pointless in this scenario but that’s just how I’m wired).
As far as the wages go, I tried to stick to their value according to Transfermarkt if it was available and for NPL and young players without senior experience I’m paying close to the minimum wage of 55 thousand.
Here is my squad (average age – 23):
Aaron Lennox – a product of the AIS and QPR. He has been capped at youth level for Australia most recently with the U23s. At 22 would be a good understudy for the first choice keeper if not the first choice in his own right. Highlights
Alistair Bray – the Bentleigh Greens keeper has been a major factor in the team’s charge at the top with his shutting out of attacks and his clean sheets. Also only 22 he has been with both Melbourne A-league teams over the years but hasn’t been given the chance at the higher level yet.
Shane Lowry (26) – a versatile defender who can play as a left back or centre back. Has a lot of experience at the Championship and League One level after coming up through the Aston Villa ranks. A no nonsense defender who can get forward and has thunderous free kick.
Josh Tanner – has had a very good season with Blacktown Spartans in the NSWNPL this season. The 21 year old left back/winger spent a few seasons in Spain and Belgium. His attacking instincts make him dangerous on the counter. He can also play centre back.
Digão – a Brazilian right back with experience in the Brazilian top flight with Flamengo. Still only 22 he represents a good investment with sell-on potential much like Adama Traore. Highlights
Rafa Jimenez (19) – the former Atletico Madrid youth captain and Villarreal youth player has represented the Young Socceroos. He has trialled with some EPL sides in the off-season but needs to look for first team football. Can play as a centre back or right back he has the Spanish skill with the Aussie heart.
Christopher Schorch – only 26, this German centre back with Bundesliga experience moved to Spain with Real Madrid’s B team before heading back to Germany with MSV Duisburg. A good reader of the game and a strong body. Can also play right back in a pinch. Highlights
Giancarlo Gallifuoco (21) – another Australian youth international formerly at Tottenham with Massimo Luongo and most recently with Swansea. Can play either centre back or defensive midfield many Swansea fans who had watched. Their U21s were surprised they let him go. A big lad who is handy at corner situations and is comfortable on the ball with a good passing range.
Alistair Quinn (22) – the Olympic FC player spent some time in Holland with NAC Breda and SC Telstar. Another versatile defender who can play either side at full back. Has also represented Australia at youth level.
Chris Herd – he is the Australian marquee of the team. Plenty of EPL experience and as versatile a player as you’ll find with his natural position being in the centre of midfield he can play also as a CB or RB which most Australian fans would know him for. The Australian international is still only 26 but he has had some injury concerns which if this can be managed would make him an excellent signing.
Luis Ramirez – the Peruvian international would be the playmaker of the team and the International marquee. The oldest player in the squad at 30 his international experience and time in the top flight in Brazil will be invaluable to such a young team. He is everything you’d expect of a South American attacking midfielder. Highlights
Andreas Govas (26) – a very good technical player and dead ball specialist who spent time in England, Greece, and France. Currently at Heidleberg United in the Victorian NPL, he has scored some impressive and spectacular goals from midfield including a hat trick. Would be a good squad player for the team who could flourish in a full time environment. Has represented both Greece and Australia at youth level.
Tomislav Uskok (24) – the Melbourne Knights captain is a natural born leader who can do it all on the pitch. A CB or a DM, he is one of the most consistent performers in the NPL. Highlights
Nick Epifano (21) – the South Melbourne live wire is an enigma but he is one of those players capable of the magic needed to change a game. His footballing ability is without question it is just a matter of keeping him focussed mentally. Highlights
Panni Nikas (27) – a player with A-League experience with Central Coast Mariners and North Queensland Fury. He has been impressive for the Sutherland Sharks and Sydney United in the NSWPL and would be hungry for another shot at the HAL.
Adrian Ucchino (23) – had a couple of senior appearances with Frosinone in Italy where he was earning massive wraps before a serious injury curtailed his rise. Returning to Australia his road to recovery has been impressive first at Bonnyrigg and now at APIA with some classy goals. Would be a solid squad player that might blossom in a full time set up.
Ryan Edwards – the Australian international with Aleague and Championship experience with Perth Glory and Reading respectively. Will add versatility being able to play in almost any role in the midfield and will bring an attacking instinct to the side. Highlights
Dario Vidosic (28) – the Aussie international is a proven Aleague player and has experience in Germany and Switzerland. Not much needs to be said for this hardworking, creative midfielder. Another experienced professional for this young group.
Patrick Antelmi – the 21 year old has had plenty of clubs in England (Portsmouth, Leeds, Wolves, Wigan) in his search for first team football before finding his way home with recently crowned NSWPL champions Blacktown City. Antelmi’s goals have been crucial for the western Sydney team and he’s formed a lethal partnership with former HAL player Joey Gibbs.
Alexander Sørloth – at just 19 the young Scandanavian has plenty of upside. Known more as a left winger the Norwegian youth international has shown he has an eye for goal when played as a CF. This season he scored 4 goals in a game vs Start. He has also played in the Europa League Qualifiers. One of the mkre ambitious signings not because of price but his age, he could become a valuable asset for the side both on field and off. Highlights
Perry Mitris – I really wanted to include a South Aussie or two and the 24 year old who has recently been moved into a role upfront could be a diamond in the rough. He top scored in the NPLSA last season with 22 goals for the champions, Metrostars. Worth a punt in my opinion.
Jai Ingham (22) – Ingham was a Roar youth player whoscored for fun for their youth team. The winger despite a couple of appearances for the senior side was unable to secure his spot on the Roar roster. The speedster moved to Victoria this season and has been impressive for Hume City scoring and assisting.
Milos Lujic – at 25 the South Melbourne attacker has one Golden Boots and Player of the Year awards. A graduate of the AIS and a former Australian youth international whose early years were hampered by injuries. Now he has his fitness and form back and has been on the edge of the Aleague with the Mariners, Sydney FC and Wellington. Highlights
Harry Kewell & Chris Taylor