It’s every armchair expert’s dream. It’s the chance to put all those years of Football Manager experience to good use. Here’s my selection to face Manchester United.
All Stars teams – it-s every armchair expert-s dream. It-s the chance to put all those years of Football Manager experience to good use and channel your inner José Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson, or in the A-League-s case, Ange Postecoglou, and assemble a team that-s the stuff of pure fantasy.
It seems an easy enough task – select your best XI to take on Manchester United on July 20. The coaching caper can prove a little tougher than what you-d expect, however.
Just ask Pep Guardiola, who with his very own dream team saw the colour – and style – of his hair change from black to shades of grey. There were even quite a few follicles that receded in the front third, never to return.
The quandary facing most coaches regarding team selection is the obvious one: choose players to suit a preferred formation or select a formation to complement the players. Or to put it another way, opt for a team of champions or a champion team.
When it comes to All Stars teams, I-m of the opinion that it-s all about rewarding the best performed players of the campaign. So here-s my All Stars team for season 2012/13.
Goalkeeper: Ante Covic
Both Matt Ryan and Eugene Galekovic should consider themselves unlucky for missing out here, but it was hard to ignore Covic-s efforts this season. Covic has boasted a safe set of hands, a high level of consistency and has been an imposing presence in the six-yard box. He was also virtually impossible to beat from penalty spot this season, with only Daniel McBreen in the Grand Final sending a shot past him.
RB: Jerome Polenz
There was a saying that if you didn-t see your right back during a game, it was probably a good thing as he was doing his job and keeping things quiet. Jerome Polenz bucked the trend as we saw plenty of him during the season, but for all the right reasons. His ability to adapt into the role was exceptional, while his natural instinct to get forward added another dimension to his game. Pedj Bojic was a close second.
CB: Trent Sainsbury
Sainsbury-s breakout season where he seamlessly filled the void left by Alex Wilkinson means his phone is going to run hot during the off-season. He should expect a call from Socceroos coach Holger Osieck, and possibly from interested clubs abroad.
CB: Nikolai Topor-Stanley
Another tough one with Melbourne Heart-s Patrick Gerhardt pushing hard for selection here, but it-s Topor-Stanley who gets the nod on the back of dishing up some humble pie to his critics. His strength in the air, positioning and consistency contributed greatly to the Wanderers- miserly defence, which conceded only 21 goals throughout the home and away season – the best in the competition.
LB: Josh Rose
It was always going to be a two-horse race for this position, with Adama Traore narrowly pipped at the post. In the end, it was Rose-s consistency, defensive positioning and constant threat down the left flank that got him over the line.
DM: Mark Milligan
Melbourne Victory-s “Mr Versatility” was arguably the most important cog in the Victory engine room, providing a seamless link between defence and attack. He proved pretty handy from the penalty spot and notched up nine goals for the season – the same as Archie Thompson. With the Socceroos struggling to link defence with attack, Milligan could be the conduit they-re looking for.
RM: Youssouf Hersi
The 30-year-old certainly became a cult hero among the Wanderers faithful, and for good reason. His pace and attacking threat was crucial to the Wanderers- gameplan, and the fact that they failed to win a single game without him in the line-up says a lot about his value to the team.
LM: Michael McGlinchey
Tommy who? A massive load was placed on McGlinchey-s shoulders once his partner in crime left for Celtic, and it-s fair to say the Kiwi international took it all in his stride. McGlinchey-s creativity, defensive tracking and ability float between the lines meant the Mariners could cope with life after Rogic. He was a constant threat and the architect of many attacks; his haul of six goals and seven assists indicative of that.
F: Alessandro Del Piero
When ADP signed for Sydney FC, there were some in the country that had heard his name yet didn-t really know what he was like as a player. It-s a safe bet that they now know – and understand – what all the fuss was about. Del Piero gave the A-League a lesson with his class and five-star quality. He is, without question, the best marquee player to have graced the A-League.
F: Daniel McBreen
Whatever training regime Andrew Clark put in practice for McBreen this season, he should patent it. The 36-year-old defied his age with a season-long energetic display. A haul of 17 goals was enough to claim the A-League-s top goalscorer award – and surely that one-year contract extension that Graham Arnold promised if he scored 10 goals for the season.
F: Marco Rojas
The first player since Mark Viduka during the 1993/94 NSL season to win both the Johnny Warren Medal and Under-21 Player of the Year award in the same season. Rojas benefitted immensely from Ange Postecoglou-s attacking brand of football, so much so that a host of European clubs are vying for his signature.
Subs: Matt Ryan, Patrick Gerhardt, Adama Traore, Shinji Ono, Marcelo Carrusca, Jeremy Brockie.