Ange: Gametime important regardless of league quality

The standard of the Chinese Super League may not be better than the A-League but Ange Postecoglou is content as long as his Socceroos are playing.

That was the message from the Socceroos boss after recalling five China-based players in his 23-man squad to face Greece in two friendlies next month.

Tim Cahill, Trent Sainsbury, Matt Spiranovic, Ryan McGowan and Apostolos Giannou are the quintet, who’ve all been lured to Chinese clubs on lucrative contracts in recent times.

Liaoning Whowin’s James Troisi would also be in the squad if fit, while Tianjin Teda’s Aleksandar Jovanovic is on Postecoglou’s radar.

The situation is a predicament for Postecoglou who spent time last month in China watching his players first hand.

“Overall, I’m pleased they’re playing but what it means in terms of their development as players, we’ll have to wait and see,” Postecoglou said.

“Almost every one of them is getting the full 90 minutes. That’s important regardless of the league they’re playing in.”

Despite that, Postecoglou conceded he feels the Super League is weaker than the A-League at times, particularly among the struggling clubs.

Cahill and Spiranovic’s Hangzhou Greentown are currently down in 13th along with Troisi’s Liaoning Whowin in 15th.

Giannou’s Guangzhou R&F are midtable, McGowan’s Henan Jianye are fifth while Sainsbury’s big-spending Jiangsu Sainty are sitting second.

“The league there is developing. I don’t think it’s at the standard of some games in the A-League,” he said. 

“There’s a lot of teams, because of the nature of their competition, who are down the bottom, who don’t want to get relegated, who when they’re playing the top teams they play very defensively, which means the games at times can be very stop-start and very disruptive. 

“That’s where their league is at at the moment. 

“The foreigners they have for the most part are quality but the overall standard is a massive drop-off from the top teams and the bottom teams. 

“That means on a weekly basis, the games aren’t of the greatest standard.”