Alistair Edwards continues to back local talent, both on a domestic and international level, promoting Brandon O’Neill to Glory’s starting eleven in place of injured centre back Michael Thwaite, while endorsing Ange Postecoglou as the best man to fill the recently vacated Socceroos coaching position.
Edwards explained Thwaite’s hamstring injury was ‘touch and go’ but didn’t want to risk the fringe Socceroo who had not enjoyed the same amount of time off as the rest of the Glory squad, but was more than happy to throw O’Neill in to the deep end.
“Brandon O’Neill will be coming in as a so-called replacement. He’s done extremely well in the pre-season, playing 9 of the 15 games so it’s a big opportunity for him to get cracking with the A-League,” Edwards said from Perth Airport.
Danny De Silva will start on the bench after returning from the young Socceroos during the week while Jamie Mclaren and Ryan Edwards will lead the attack up front.
While Edwards is keen to promote promising young talent at Glory, he was keen to emphasise just because they are young – doesn’t mean they are kids.
“First and foremost, they’re not kids, they’re 19-year-old men and a lot of them have played over in England and the various national teams, so for us, they’re good players.”
“It just goes in line with our philosophy as a club to give young players an opportunity, young West Australian players and the young internationals coming into the team and that’s what it’s all about.”
“People are all talking about the overseas players in the league and it’s great. All the Del Pieros and the like are doing great stuff, but the important thing for Perth Glory and everyone here is the exciting young Australian talent coming in and that is the point of difference for us this year.”
Edwards also believed the time was right to back a local Australian coach in the wake of Holger Osieck’s sacking this morning.
Edwards worked closely with Osieck during his time as the Australian U17 Joeys Coach and said the German had done some great things for football in the country, such as almost winning the Asian Cup and qualifying for the World Cup, but the time had come to put faith in a local coach rather than look overseas again.
“All things point to the likes of people like Ange Postecoglou. If they are looking to go local then he is probably the one.”
“Ange Postecoglou has won four championships and he has been around for quite some time. You’ve seen what he did with Queensland Roar, turning their season around playing some fantastic football so if they go local, then for me, he’s the one they should go to,” Edwards said.
“The likes of Hiddink have been mentioned. Great coach but that’s only a short-term fix. I would prefer to see someone come in now and make sure that we’re part of the long-term plan.”
“Five years ago there was probably, it could be argued, a need to get some foreign coaches to come in here but you can see now in the A-League, the top three coaches last year were all Australian and all very good coaches.”
“It’s always good to look overseas to see what we can learn from but I think we’ve done that and I think the coaches we have in the A-League now and the brand of football that is being played, on and off the park, they’re good managers, they’re good technical coaches and I think the time is right for us to put in a local coach,” he added.