Australia national team coach Ange Postecoglou has questioned why Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford is considered better than some his star players.
The Socceroos boss is baffled as to why so many are hyping up the 18-year-old striker while demanding more respect for Australian internationals.
Although the visitors were on the wrong end of a 2-1 to England at the Stadium of Light last Friday, Postecoglou claims he saw nothing from Rashford to warrant his supposedly superior status compared to the brightest talents in his squad.
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“The English are pumping up Marcus Rashford on the basis of a deflected cross and a decent volley (to score against Australia), after which he didn’t do much,” he said, as quoted by Fox Sports Australia.
“But he plays at Manchester United and he’s got a big, fat contract, and I’m sure he gets elevated to a different level because of that.”
Postecoglou also lamented the notion that Australian footballers lack the quality to play in the top European leagues.
The 50-year-old has no explanation as to why Celtic’s Tom Rogic and Melbourne City’s Aaron Mooy – one of the best players on the pitch against England – can not held in the same regard as the household names they went toe to toe with at the home of Sunderland.
“For some reason we seem to think that Tom Rogic or Aaron Mooy are less worthy of that sort of merit. Is there any independent observer out there who can tell me there were any better midfielders (in the England game)? And that’s on the back of Aaron not playing for several weeks.”
“It’s essential (to get more players playing in top leagues) but it won’t happen until we get rid of this perception of ourselves.
“I don’t have an issue about us or our players having to prove themselves. We need to have more belief in ourselves and hopefully the perception outside will change as we continue to play these teams and continue to play our kind of football.”
Postecoglou, one of the most successful Australian managers in history, has been admired for instilling a sense of fearlessness in the national team since taking over in October 2013.
However, the former defender raises a compelling point about how Australian football must redefine itself as a serious player in the world game in order to develop.
Since the vintage of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Tim Cahill and Mark Schwarzer, the nation has failed to produce a single player who is widely recognised as world-class.
Constructing a fruitful development system in a country where football isn’t the main sport takes decades, but when that time arrives, an entrenched belief the Socceroos have no place among the world’s best must be eradicated.
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