Australia coach Graham Arnold is concerned about the lack of game time his domestic-based players have had ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, with the A-League only a couple of weeks into the new season.
The core of the Socceroos squad will come from players based in Europe, most of whom have been in action since August. The new A-League season kicked off at the start of October and clubs are only three matches into the campaign.
“The boys overseas, probably all of them have played 15 games,” said Arnold, who won A-League titles while coaching Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC.
“Due to the start of the A-League again and this hasn’t been an issue just now, this has been an issue for 15 years: that the A-League doesn’t start until after the September-October FIFA windows.
“The A-League boys have played two games, this is their third game this weekend that’s why I’m getting out to watch all the games, because I need to see them live,” he told the ABC.
While Arnold is frustrated about the domestic league’s late start he sees no issues with the quality of the competition.
“I truly believe the A-League is a good standard,” Arnold said.
“A lot of people compare it to the English Premier League. Well no one in the world can compare with the English Premier League, probably not even the Serie A and Bundesliga.
“The A-League has got some good quality. I’ve been around the world watching games in Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Holland and let me tell you, it’s the same level, if not some of the teams are worse than the A-League.” Australia will be appearing at the World Cup finals for the fifth tournament in a row and have been drawn to face defending champions France as well as Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.