Memo Socceroos: Bring back Tommy Oar

Brisbane Roar flier Tommy Oar is on fire and should be rushed into the Australia side that is chasing a spot in next year's FIFA World Cup in Russia.


Tommy Oar in action for Brisbane Source: AAP

With Tom Rogic unavailable for next month's two Socceroos qualifiers due to ankle surgery, Oar should be picked in Ange Postecoglou's team to face Iraq and the United Arab Emirates ... and given a licence to thrill.

He could be just the man to give the team the kind of zip that has been sadly lacking in the last couple of matches.

Things did not go particularly well for Oar since his acrimonious split from Dutch club FC Utrecht in 2015.

A subsequent spell with Ipswich Town in the English Championship was largely unproductive and he sought and obtained a release from Portman Road in early 2016.

His form and confidence by then had dipped alarmingly and it was no surprise that he lost his place in the Socceroos team.

Fans could have been justified in fearing that Oar had become yet another classic example of a promising player not fulfilling his full potential.

He played only a peripheral role in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup triumph on home soil, coming on as a late substitute for Matthew Leckie in a group match against Oman in Sydney.

However, a return home to Brisbane last year has revived his career that was beginning to unravel.

After a tentative start to this season when he was used on the right flank, Oar has come into his own in the last few weeks when allowed to create his special brand of mayhem on the left side.

Oar was close to his devastating best in Brisbane's shock 2-0 win over Shanghai Shenhua that gave John Aloisi's boys a spot in the AFC Champions League proper.

Oar made the first goal for Brandon Borrello with a tantalising cross from his left foot and scored the second goal with a well taken shot from his right boot that served notice of his fierce determination to regain his spot in the Socceroos team.

He did not start in Brisbane's 2-2 draw with Melbourne City at the weekend, probably due to a degree of understandable fatigue.

He came on as a substitute on the hour and made two strong runs that caught the eye.

Brisbane's little wizard has his critics. Some say he can be erratic and inconsistent while others suspect he might just be trying too hard.

But his pace, positivity and willingness to take on defenders make him a valuable asset not just to Brisbane but also to Australia.

Oar's low centre of gravity also makes it easy for him to keep his balance.

He may not have the dribbling skills of Diego Castro, the close control of Bruno Fornaroli or the inventive mind of Milos Ninkovic but there are few more thrilling sights in the A-League than watching Oar go off on a darting run and breeze past opponents.
The Socceroos were generally poor in their most recent qualifiers: a 1-1 draw with Japan in Melbourne and a 2-2 stalemate with Thailand in Bangkok.

At the halfway stage of qualification Saudi Arabia and Japan lead Group B with 10 points while Australia and the UAE are a point behind.

The Socceroos play three of their remaining five matches at home and the away fixture against Iraq on March 23 will be played in neutral Iran.

Regardless of whether Postecoglou opts for three strikers or four midfielders, the coach can do much worse than give Oar another opportunity.

The Brisbane man can be used on the left side of the attack in a 4-3-3 or be a wide attacking midfielder in a 4-4-2.

Postecoglou is a true believer in the quality of the A-League and he has repeatedly stated that strong form in the domestic competition would be rewarded.

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat recently said that he thought the media sometimes was too quick in declaring a player worthy of the Socceroos jersey on the basis of a good 45 minutes or two.

He said the green and gold jersey should be treated with more respect.

Muscat was dead right, of course, but he certainly would have no qualms should Oar be selected.

The attacker is in a rich vein of form and deserves to be back in national team calculations.

Oar is not just knocking on the door but about to crush through it.

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4 min read
Published 13 February 2017 at 8:28am
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS