YET another key reason for A-League expansion, Kossie has his say on goalkeepers and the Golden Shinpad nominees.
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‘ANOTHER REASON WHY EXPANSION NEEDS TO HAPPEN’
FORMER Socceroos John Kosmina and Mark Bosnich say there aren’t enough opportunities for young players to develop in the A-League.
On Saturday night, 16-year-old Dylan Pierias became the A-League’s youngest debutant and impressed with his performance against Brisbane Roar.
Pierias was one of a number of either young or fringe players who featured for Melbourne City due to an array of suspensions to senior players.
But Kosmina said that example went against the trend, with few young players getting the opportunity to start A-League games on a regular basis.
“I think it’s great you’ve got a 16-year-old that can actually play because too often you don’t see coaches (back them) — I mean they were forced into this situation,” Kosmina said.
“I don’t think enough young kids are blooded in the A-League.
“They’ve got to go through the process for too long.”
Kosmina said the current state of things tended to see players spend time in a club’s youth system before failing to make the grade — largely due to lack of opportunities — and returning to state league or local league football.
“I’ve seen a lot of kids that have spent three years in the youth team at a club, they get 10 minutes of football, senior football,” he said.
“And they go and they’re back in the NPL or whatever state league they’re from.”
Bosnich agreed, saying opportunities were limited by only having 10 teams in the national league, and pushed the case for rapid A-League expansion.
“That’s another reason why expansion needs to happen as soon as possible,” Bosnich said.
“There are far too little chances for our good kids to come through.
“It needs to happen yesterday.”
Pierias was excellent deputising for the injured Ivan Franjic at right-back and Bosnich praised the youngster for his achievement.
“He was absolutely outstanding … this is a young boy who rejected the AIS, said ‘no I’m okay, I’ll stay where I am’, has developed on his own with Melbourne City and he’s a good one to mark down for the future,” Bosnich said.
“(At) 16 years of age, it’s a marvellous achievement — wherever you are — it’s a marvellous achievement to debut at that stage.
“It’s great for the A-League as well that with all their suspensions they had the confidence to throw somebody in at that age.”
Bosnich said City should consider fielding the teenager again in their next match against Wellington.
“For him to do well, he’ll be feeling on top of the world,” he said.
“He’s got a massive case next week if Michael Valkanis says ‘I’m going to leave you out’ because the way he played, he deserves — in my opinion — to keep his place.”
WHY SORENSEN SHOULD STAY: KOSSIE
John Kosmina says Melbourne City should stick with veteran goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.
The Dane was momentous between the sticks against the Roar, having returned to the starting line-up after Dean Bouzanis’ suspension.
“I think he’s a fantastic keeper (and) I thought last night, he put in a performance that earned his team a point because Brisbane really should have won that game apart from Thomas Sorensen, that’s why he got the Alex Tobin points,” Kosmina said.
“I think he should have been playing for the last few weeks and I rink Melbourne City would be in a far better position had he been between the sticks.
“I think now that he’s back and next week they get their players back, he’s got four games and he’s not going to give that spot up.”
Kosmina said Sorensen’s professionalism and experience shone through in a performance off the back of being held in reserve.
“Last night he had a presence and you can see, he’s got a bit of verbal in his game, he organises,” he said.
“Last night he was just cold and calculated and went about his business like a true pro.
“Give him credit as well because he’s had to sit on his bum for a few weeks.”
Wellington goalkeeper Glen Moss praised Sorensen for his leadership of a young and inexperienced City outfit.
“It’s difficult to do as well, I’ve been there and done that,” Moss said.
“The way he came out, not just the saves he made but the way he communicated from the back, with a young side, an inexperienced side, it was fantastic to see.”
THE GOLDEN SHINPAD VERDICT … SO FAR
Melbourne Victory and Newcastle’s defences will be tested out on Monday night.
But in Defender Round, the Shootout panel had their say on the Golden Shinpad contenders so far.
Sydney FC’s Rhyan Grant, Perth’s Dino Djulbic, Brisbane’s Corey Brown and Central Coast’s Liam Rose have all been nominated.
But for former Socceroo Ned Zelic, one man stood out.
“I have to say Rhyan Grant,” he said.
“He’s pretty much giving his team everything and more.
“The fact that he’s been good defensively (and) just loves to get up the park as well.”
Grant scored a goal and provided an assist for Bobo for Sydney against Wellington in one of his best performances of this season on Thursday night.
Zelic praised the defender’s character and workrate.
“His workrate’s sensational, assists, scored a goal as well,” he said.
“You can’t ask for more really and just his character as well, his approach to the game and the amount of physical capacity.
“The output is just tremendous and he’s having a fantastic season.”
OKON MAKING HIS MARK: KOSSIE
Paul Okon was in raptures when Roy O’Donovan scored Central Coast’s second goal against the Wanderers on Sunday, running to celebrate with his players.
Kosmina said it was exciting to see the first-year Mariners boss reaping the reward of his faith in a playing group that was bottom of the league last season.
“You can actually see how much it meant because at the start of the season it looked like it was going to be more of the same from last season,” Kosmina said.
“He’s invested a lot of time and a lot of faith in these players and you can see he’s built up a strong relationship, a good rapport with them.
“It’s good for a coach to be coaching like that.”
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BRISBANE Roar’s defensive stocks have taken another untimely blow, with fears “Mr Fix-It” Daniel Bowles has suffered a serious knee injury.
Bowles was in wheelchair on his arrival back in Brisbane after hurting his knee in a foul that earnt him a booking in the dying stages of the Roar’s 2-2 draw with Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
The versatile Bowles, whose ability to play anywhere in the back four is invaluable to the Roar as they embark on their packed A-League/AFC Champions League schedule, will have scans on the injury on Wednesday.
Also having scans will be fullback Jack Hingert, who didn’t play against City after injuring his ankle in the Roar’s 2-0 Champions League playoff win over Shanghai Shenhua in China last Wednesday.
LIKE the great athletes they are, Melbourne City women timed their title run to perfection.
And with a 2-0 grand final win over Perth at nib Stadium, City became the first team in the nine-year history of the W-League to win back-to-back championships.
Player-coach Jess Fishlock landed a hammerblow for the visitors by scoring the opener in first half stoppage time, before Beverly Yanez sealed the win with a cross-cum-shot in the 72nd minute.
As a club, it is City’s third title of the season after the men won the FFA Cup and the boys won the National Youth League last month.