The UK-based duo have had a mixed time of it with injury to Wright and lack of game time for Davidson underlining the vagaries of professional football. Having ridden the lows they look like having the Socceroos' backs for years to come and are worthy entrants in the Aussie Top 50.
15 BAILEY WRIGHT
Position Defender Club Preston North End
It has been quite the year for Wright. In June last year, hewas a bolter when he was named in the Socceroos’ World Cup squad. He may not have featured at Brazil 2014, but he was firmly in coach Ange Postecoglou’s thinking.
His international debut finally came in September, and in some style. Wright started and played 90 minutes, including scrambling in Australia’s third goal in the 3-2 win over Saudi Arabia. Wright’s good fortune would go from the international scene to the domestic one. His Preston were beaten on the final day of the League One season to miss out on automatic promotion. But they responded in the play-offs, thrashing Swindon Town 4-0 in the final to secure their place in the Championship.
The Melbourne-born centre-back, who left Australia for England in 2009, is still only 22and one for the future at both club and international level. If his consistent performances continue, he can become a Socceroos regular and lead Australia’s defence for years to come.
HE SAID: “I’m enjoying go out there and playing again, and when you’re winning it’s always enjoyable and the team’s playing well.”
THEY SAID: “For a young boy, he’s got quite an experienced head. He’s very vocal, great in a relatively inexperienced backline.” Mile Jedinak
14 JASON DAVIDSON
Position Defender Club Huddersfield Town
So impressive were Davidson’s performances at the World Cup, a move to one of Europe’s biggest leagues was on the cards as he departed Heracles. On the back of a recommendation from Socceroos great Tim Cahill, Davidson, 24, joined Premier League outfit West Brom.
However, he would get few opportunities – playing just twice in the league and appearing in the cup three times before being released at season’s end. In the meantime, he was still trusted by Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.
Davidson made four appearances at the Asian Cup, including playing full games in each of the knockout round matches. He also scored his first international goal, netting in Australia’s 2-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates in the semi-finals.
Davidson’s defensive abilities have improved and he remains dangerous going forward down the left.
The son of Socceroos great Alan, Jason can settle into his position at left-back for Postecoglou’s side – yet regular game time at club level is sure to lead to further improvement as he looks to take the next step in his career.
HE SAID: “You have your ups and the downs and I am just grateful with the national team at least it’s been a very positive year.”
THEY SAID: “Jason is a good defender who has lots of energy and gets forward well.” Alan Irvin