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Five A-League defenders for Brazil

sainsburyThe Australian defence is in a process of rejuvenation after a humiliating few months, and in this rejuvenation Ange Postecoglou has shown that he has no problem promoting aged players to temporarily stabilise the defence. Players such as Alex Wilkinson, who was included in the squad against Costa Rica at the age of 29. This opens the door not just to A-League players, but to players of all ages in Australia who have been or can prove they are good enough to play.

The following five defenders have performed well through the first eleven weeks of the 2013/14 A-League season, and make our list of those who are a chance of being considered for Brazil:

1. Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney)

Since making his A-League debut in round 5 against the Heart, Spiranovic has improved in every match, with his most recent game against Central Coast perhaps his best to date. Dubbed the long-term successor to Lucas Neill, Spiranovic showed all the right signs in the early days of his career. However, a few wrong choices during his career meant that he was vacant from the national team set up for several years.

Now back in Australia, and Matthew – after just six appearances for the Wanderers – has become a clear candidate for Brazil. His composure on the ball, his height and deceptive pace, and his 16 previous international caps put him far above the other candidates in the A-League. He needs only to continue his good form and he will almost certainly be on the plane to Brazil.

2. Michael Thwaite (Perth)

With just six months before the World Cup, Postecoglou may be tempted to draw on the older, more experienced generation of A-League players. At 30 years of age, Thwaite still has good pace and is known for his hard tackling and leadership from the back. Moreover, he has played for Australia in thirteen different appearances, and thus has vital international experience. He has also had stints in his club career in Romania, Poland and Norway. His experience could be useful to Postecoglou if Lucas Neill fails to find a club.

3. Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast)

Sainsbury is 21 years old and has an impressive 55 A-League appearances to his name. For the past two seasons he has presented himself as one of the best defenders in the League, consistently showcasing his pace and tackling ability. Trent was called into the Socceroos squad at the East Asian Cup, but unfortunately didn’t get any game time under previous Socceroos manager Holger Osieck. Trent is the best candidate amongst the young defenders looking for precious international experience.

4. Jason Geria (Melbourne Victory)

Geria has been a key member of the Australian under 20’s squad, playing all three games at the Under 20’s World Cup in Turkey. He was also amongst the very young Melbourne Victory team that played Liverpool in May. This sort of experience for a player just 20 years of age is invaluable. He is an exciting player to watch, possessing the rare ability to get forward and antagonise the opposing defence. With a bit more poise on the ball, he could take the right-full back position in the near future.

5. Connor Chapman (Newcastle)

Another young product of the Under 20’s Australian squad is Connor Chapman. Connor plays regularly for Newcastle Jets, and like Geria, played in all three games in Turkey for Australia’s Under 20’s. He also looks likely to play a key role in the AFC Under-22 Championship in January. Ange will most certainly be watching the AFC championships, and providing Chapman plays well, he could get the attention of the Socceroos coach.

What do you make of those five players? Are they likely to be on the plane to Brazil? Or are there other A-League defenders who should be up for consideration? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

About the author

avatarJames is a devout Melbourne Victory fan and a UQ Journalism student, writing for Ultimate A-League.

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  • CCM Lad

    Connor Chapman? Can’t even get a start for Newcastle, despite being free of injury for several weeks. Unfortunately we don’t have up and coming youngsters who are performing well in defence. As you say I think we may have to rely on experience at first. Everyone else makes sense. Instead of Connor, maybe Smith. Can score goals and is captain for the league leaders