Sport, without spin, from around the world. Matthew Hall considers the issues behind the headlines and tells the stories that others don't.
Verbeek's message: Get out
If you want to be selected in the Socceroos World Cup squad you had better be playing overseas, writes Matthew Hall.
If I were Tommy Oar, the 18-year-old Brisbane Roar midfielder, I'd be looking at my watch right about now.
I'd be counting down the days – not for his potential role in Australia's upcoming Asian Cup qualifier with Indonesia in Brisbane – but for April's arrival when Oar will leave his home town to spend time trialing with Dutch club Feyenoord.
The A-League can claim to have now done its job for Oar.
It has provided a taste of full-time football for a promising young talent and now one of the world's top clubs – with a reputation for developing young talent and catapulting it even further into football's professional stratosphere – wants to see Oar in action.
Oar, an awesome headline waiting to happen, should be glad to be shot of the A-League if he harbours any ambition to play for Australia.
Pim Verbeek has done exactly the right thing picking a squad containing a majority of could-be-and-possibles for the Indonesia game but if any player named (other than Jason Culina, Josh Kennedy, and Luke Wilkshire) shows up in South Africa as anything more than a backpacker it will be a shock for FFA's travel agent.
Verbeek has sent yet another message to players and public with the squad named to face Indonesia in Brisbane.
Get the hell out.
Selecting Jade North and Mark Milligan, players who should by now be Socceroo regulars but neither blazing a trail with clubs in Korea and Japan, again suggests that if you're playing anywhere other than Australia Verbeek will give you a call.
For Australia's returning Socceroos, the message is even clearer.
This season's Johnny Warren Medal, – the award given to the A-League's best player – was fought out between Carlos Hernandez, a Costa Rican international, World Cup-bound Kiwi Shane Smeltz, and Paul Ifill, originally from football power Barbados.
This is a great reward for these players and the recruiting smarts of Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix.
But where are the older Aussies?
While Perth Glory's returning heroes Jacob Burns and Mile Sterjovski will later link up with the squad to face Indonesia, they face a battle to be serious contenders for World Cup selection later this year.
Which, let's face it, is the only squad that matters.
Those guys must be feeling a little short-changed by coming home one season out from the World Cup (except, of course, for the "lifestyle" and the weather).
But another year in Europe and it seems they might be coming home via Johannesburg.
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