Abrams: Youngsters should stay in the A-League

FFA Technical Director Eric Abrams believes playing in the A-League gives you more credibility when it comes to getting a contract in Europe, and cited the examples of Mathew Ryan and Daniel De Sliva.

Out of the 170 players on the current Aussies Abroad list, 52 players are under 20-years-old and only 44 played in the A-League before they moved to an overseas club.

Abrams said that young Aussie's should be spending more time in the Australia's top division before conducting their first foray abroad.

“You always have more credit in Europe if you play in the A-League,” Abrams said.

“Mat Ryan and Daniel Da Silva had a good choice in their career pathway because they didn’t pick a team at the highest level or top level where maybe they were on the bench or in the second team.

“Mat Ryan came in the team where he had the chance to challenge the goalkeeper and he played for three seasons at Club Brugge.

“Now he is at Valencia, so the pathway for Mat Ryan is really an example for a lot of players.”

However, former Socceroo and Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich believes the younger a player leaves, the better.

“They should be leaving at 15 (years-old) up to 18 (years-old) maximum,” Bosnich, who left Australia to play in England when he was 17-years-old, said.

“That’s the time to go. They never come back as worse people or definitely as worse players.”

Abrams said A-league clubs have a significant part to play to ensure more young players are getting a fair chance and so moves like Bosnich's aren't luring escape routes.

“The only thing is the mindset we have to change from our owners in the A-League,” he said.

“Please invest in youth development because it’s beneficial, it’s beneficial for your team here and it can be beneficial on the financial side if the players is really a talented one.”

Abrams also added that playing in the lower tiers of English football is not the right choice for young Australian players.

“If you play in the third or fourth division in England maybe that’s professional football but that is not high level football,” he said.

“If you go to one of the EPL clubs and you go to the academy of Chelsea, okay I can understand that. But if you go to a third or fourth division in Scotland or in England what’s your pathway in the long term? I don’t think that is beneficial for what you are doing.”

Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.