Coach Osieck focused on future with new look Socceroos
BRETT Emerton's axing from the Socceroos squad for the vital World Cup qualifier with Oman later this month tells us two things.
One is that coach Holger Osieck is not a man to pick a side on reputations, and two, that the so-called golden generation of Australian football has almost had its day.
Six players who went to the 2006 World Cup in Germany are still in the latest squad (Lucas Neill is injured), but you would think that for the likes of Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Mark Milligan, Mark Schwarzer, Archie Thompson and Luke Wilkshire, that if the Socceroos do make it to Brazil next year,it would be their last hurrah.
With Mark Viduka, Vince Grella, Craig Moore and John Aloisi retired, Harry Kewell and Jason Culina witout a club and Scott Chipperfield another who appears to be out of Osieck's thoughts, Emerton appears to be the latest veteran from either or both of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups to be told he is surplus to requirements.
Osieck didn't completely slam the door in Emerton's face, but it would appear the Sydney FC star could well have played his last World Cup game given he has not played a qualifier for 13 months.
The 95-times capped 34-year-old has been a stalwart down the years and was a star for the Aussies throughout the mid 2000s.
But Osieck knows the golden days are in the past and he must now start looking to the future.
Obviously experience is vital during a World Cup qualifying campaign especially when a team is - like the Socceroos - in a transition period.
Osieck has said in the past he will not be frightened to pick youngsters if they are good enough and that he is also not afraid to stay close to home and pick A-League stars.
This proves that Australia still does have talent and that the homegrown players are getting better all the time.
Now it is all about building this new generation into a team which can get the Soceroos to Brazil and do well in future tournaments.
Osieck must now start building a team around the likes of Holman, Robbie Kruse, goalkeeper Mat Ryan, Tommy Oar and Jade North.
He must also keep sticking to his guns and pick these players through thick and thin.
There will be a few bumps on the road to Rio as Osieck freely admits, but he has to give the younger stars their heads and say to them, 'It's in your hands, go and be potentially our next golden generation'.
Only time will tell whether the players can be as good as the ones from the past, but now is not the time for looking back.