Former AC Milan and Qantas Socceroos goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac believes the national team have been too slow in promoting young players.
Former AC Milan and Qantas Socceroos goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac believes the national team have been too slow in promoting young players, saying Mitchell Langerak should have been a starter for the Socceroos two years ago.
Kalac, who spent time as a reserve keeper at one of the world-s biggest clubs, AC Milan, and made 54 appearances for the Socceroos, argues that Langerak, currently the back-up with Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund, hasn-t had regular game time is irrelevant given he is training with some of the best players in Europe on a daily basis.
“Without a shadow of a doubt the kid we should be pushing now is Mitch Langerak, no shadow of a doubt in my mind that he should have been there (In the Socceroos team) two years ago, not just coming into the squad now,” Kalac said.
“He is at one of the biggest clubs in Europe, he is training with some fantastic players day in, day out and this bull they keep saying, that he is getting no game time… Well, what is better? Being a reserve keeper at Dortmund and training with that quality of player day in, day out or playing here in the A-League? I think it is better to be playing at a club like Dortmund.
“It-s no second division club. He is at Borussia Dortmund; he is definitely a keeper we should be pushing for the future.”
The Sydney FC goalkeeping coach, known for his outspoken views, says part of his frustration at the national team-s lack of preparation for the future stems from when Langerak wasn-t selected in the squad for the World Cup qualifier against Oman, when the Socceroos stuttered their way to a 2-2 draw.
Current No.1 Mark Schwarzer has continued as Holger Osieck-s first-choice but with the 40-year-old-s spell with the national team coming to an end, there is no keeper who has sufficient experience in a Socceroos jersey that appears ready to take over his position, despite Australia boasting a number of talented goalkeepers in some of Europe-s best leagues.
“I-ll be honest with you, I had a go at them (officials) down at the goalkeeping camp when we were in Tasmania, and basically told them I thought it was an absolute joke that Langerak wasn-t in the squad. To have Matty Ryan and Eugene Galekovic ahead of Mitchell Langerak is an absolute joke and funnily enough he is in the squad this time,” Kalac said.
“I don-t want to be the one always causing trouble but that is my opinion and I think some people should start to listen, because these kids don-t get to this level if they-re not good. If he was no good he wouldn-t be at Dortmund, Dortmund would have got rid of him after one year.
“Two years ago Mitch should have been in the national team and he should have already have played more than 10 matches for the national team and Schwarzy shouldn-t be playing all these matches that he is playing.”
Whilst stating he is hopeful for the future, Kalac admits he doesn-t believe the A-League is the answer when it comes to developing young goalkeepers, with foreign clubs offering the best pathways for elite development.
“We-re not in the best state ever for keepers in this country, and especially the ones coming through but there are a few, soon hopefully the product line will start again,” he said.
“At Sydney I think Anthony Bouzanis has a very bright future if he keeps heading in the right direction and Vedran Janjetovic is only 25, he is nowhere near ready for national teams, but a keeper doesn-t peak until 28-34 so he has some time; there are good solid keepers in the A-League but nothing that is international class.”