My All Stars Team
The top 35 fan picks have come through and while there is a good blend there I would still like to see younger stars get their chance in the match against Man United.
As a Manchester United fan, it goes without saying that I am truly excited to see what I consider to be the world-s greatest football club come to the Harbour City.
The Red Devils bring prestige, class and the excitement of one of the world-s biggest sporting teams to Australia-s shores. The interest in the match in the initial stages has been unprecedented; tickets flew out the door as fans clamoured to get them, the reaction has been amazing.
The Hyundai A-League has come a long way in a short time, but now it gets to show what it has to offer on a world stage. Manchester United fans here will undoubtedly watch the game and as such it-s an opportunity not only for Australia to show what we have but for any player who is selected to give themselves a great opportunity to be seen by not only the Red Devils but by any high-profile manager who may be watching.
It was always a given that the likes of Alessandro del Piero, Shinji Ono and Archie Thompson would be selected by the fans, but will they play?
Thompson is likely to be on Socceroos duty at the time, but he would deserve to pick up a jersey. Ono and ADP will likely be back in training and should be ready to go.
Picking a group of experienced players who all have their best behind them likely isn-t the way to go. What would they gain from the experience?
A final feather in their caps is the answer, they may also lack the necessary pace to cope with Man United-s strike force.
At the same time a sinificantly inexperienced side would likely get their backsides handed to them by a Red Devils side that could include, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa, Nemanja Vidic, Andy Carrick, Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez, Paul Scholes, Nani and Ashley Young to name a few.
You look at those names and it screams firepower.
In selecting a team a few things have to be considered, blending youth and experience, finding a midfield enforcer to do the grunt work, having solid defenders, technical skill, class, pace, goal-scoring ability and of course class finishers who can create and take their chances.
It-s a tall order and then you have to think about a few youngsters who could truly benefit from being in the side and showing what they have against a global giant.
It-s not easy and the final decisions of what style the team plays will rest with Ange Postecoglou, that decision is a tough one, but surely going for the jugular is going to be a popular option and yong players lack fear.
If I had a top ten list of young players (25 or under) to choose from it would contain these men, three of which did not make the fans top 35.
Mat Ryan (20): Captured the attention of Tottenham Hotspur amongst others, he doesn-t always get to showcase his shot-stopping skills but they are up there. Against United he could get to prove he has plenty to offer.
Trent Sainsbury (21): My defender of the year. He has been noticed by European clubs and will head for trials with FC Basel among others. A future Socceroo and he more than most deserves a shot at a position in this team.
Adama Traore (23): Arguably the best left-back in the league, Traore is an attacking machine who gets in behind defenders on a regular basis, has pace to burn and is a strong defender both on the ground and in the air.
Zac Anderson (21): Big, burly and strong. I-d love to see him up on a corner against Nemanja Vidic to see who would win the strength battle. Anderson might not always get selected as a starter at the Mariners but he does have an enormous upside and reads the play very well.
Aaron Mooy (22): His form may have dipped in the latter half of the season but Mooy has plenty of technical skill and his vision when passing is second to none. Also works hard in defence.
Louis Fenton (19): The Kiwi has been a revelation in his first season. Is very similar to Mooy in his playing style but unlike Mooy isn-t a threat from dead ball situations.
Luke Brattan (23): There is plenty to like about Brattan, he is one of the most accurate passes of the ball at the Roar and is a dead-ball specialist, so much so that he took over free kicks from Thomas Broich for a while at the Roar.
Dario Vidosic (25): The Adelaide United star and sometime Socceroo is a classy passer of the football and has a wicked strike. High-class technical skills make him a threat.
Jeremy Brockie (25): Brilliant pure striker with a penchant for the sublime. An excitement machine who could light up the game with something extraordinary.
Marco Rojas (21): ‘Kiwi Messi- is cureently off in Europe but wouldn-t it be a coup to have him back for this game. Imagine what a brilliant performance against Manchester United would do for the future of the diminutive All White. It could be his break-out moment.
Paul Johnson-s A-League All Stars: Formation 4-3-3
Goalkeeper: Ante Covic (WSW) Defenders: Jerome Polenz (WSW), Michael Thwaite (PG),Trent Sainsbury (CCM), Adama Traore (MV) Midfielders: Shinji Ono (WSW), Mark Milligan (MV), Thomas Broich (BR) Forwards: Jeremy Brockie (WP), Alessandro Del Piero (SFC), Dario Vidosic (AU) Reserves: Mat Ryan (CCM), Marcelo Carrusca (AU), Zac Anderson (CCM), Daniel McBreen (CCM)
Note: While Jerome Polenz and Zac Anderson did not make the top 35, they were in contention when this piece was written.