Although he didn’t criticise Australia’s domestic competition, Bert van Marwijk’s A-League assessment fell far short of endorsing the league’s quality.
The Socceroos coach is now leaving Australia to return to Europe, where he and former Dutch international, John Metgod, will scout Australian players performing overseas.
In one weekend the Dutch coach watched four games, including the Wanderers’ win over Melbourne City in the NYL Grand Final. Out of that small sample, van Marwijk sounded less than impressed with the competition’s scope.
"I saw four games, one (youth league) and three in the A-League...I saw one good game. I was positively surprised at the level of that game," he told AAP.
The one good game van Marwijk mentioned was Newcastle Jets’ 2-0 defeat of Melbourne Victory, two of the strongest sides in the competition. Combined with such a short time down under, this assessment doesn’t ring positively for the A-League’s Socceroos bolters.
Although the Dutchman already has some familiarity with the Socceroos first eleven from his time in charge of Saudi Arabia, this weekend was an opportunity for the A-League’s brightest young talent to impress.
Van Marwijk saw Danny De Silva and new Wanderers’ signing Chris Ikonomidis face off last Sunday, but tellingly won’t have an opportunity to see 19-year-old Melbourne City star Daniel Arzani, who has been rumoured to be in the Iranian national team’s sights leading into the World Cup.
The 65-year-old will now return to Europe, where he said he’ll base himself to watch Socceroos in England and Germany.
"A team needs weapons," he said. "In March, maybe I will nominate a few more players.”