Josep Gombau: ‘My U-23s will play like the Socceroos

Coach Josep Gombau says this week’s Australian U-23 training camp is crucial for getting his philosophy across, vowing to replicate the Caltex Socceroos’ playing style with his Olyroos.

In his first chance to work with the U-23 squad since his appointment last year, Gombau has been casting his eye over 26 of the best from the Hyundai A-League on the Central Coast this week.

He’ll conduct another camp in March in Europe which will only involve overseas-based players.

The qualifiers for next January’s AFC U-23 Asian Cup in China will be held in July, making every camp vital for Gombau to bring his ideas to the squad.

“The most important thing after this camp is the players will know exactly what we want to do,” Gombau told

“They are all good players and we put them together to get to know each other and to get them to know what I want, put [forward] our philosophy, our system and our style.

“It always is important to qualify [for these tournaments]. We must take this step,” the Spaniard said.

“This competition we are playing in Asia and every single tournament in Asia that is an official tournament we need to be there, especially as one of the best countries in Asia.

“It’s our dream that we can be there and we need to work hard. And do that at every stage, not just U-23 but U-17, 20, we must be there all the time.”

Most of the players in the squad this week are playing regularly in the Hyundai A-League, with many regular starters with their clubs.

The likes of Jonathan Aspropotamitis (Wanderers), Bruce Kamau (City), Ben Garuccio (Reds), Lachlan Jackson, Nick Cowburn both (Jets), Paul Izzo, Trent Buhagiar (both Mariners) and Brandon Wilson (Glory) have started most games for their respective sides.

Wanderers defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis tackles City forward Bruce Kamau when their sides met in Round 14 of the Hyundai A-League.What’s more, Ruon Tongyik, Devante Clut, Lachlan Scott, Jordan O’Doherty, Jaushua Sotirio and Adam Berry, among others, are also making good progress in the A-League.

The next step for the former Barcelona youth coach is getting the squad ready to play the type of football he wants.

“We have a very clear idea of what we want. As a team we have a playing system and style that is the same as the Socceroos,” Gombau said.

“The way we want to play is to have the ball, to play beautiful football, to play football where we attack and where the people who see us inside the stadium and on TV enjoy and be proud of the work that we are doing.

“For sure [the players] will enjoy and they will follow.  As a player you always want to have the ball, to be the owner of the game and play attacking football.

“When you have the ball normally you don’t feel tired and you want to play. When you don’t have the ball it makes everything more difficult.

“Our desire is to have the ball and play attacking football.”

Asked how much he’s been relishing his role in the Australian national set-up since his appointment in June, Gombau said: “I’m enjoying a lot.

“It’s a totally different role because you work more in the office than on the field.

“The job is to watch games, to watch players and see which players can fit in your system. I’ve enjoyed being in all the camps [with the] Socceroos in their qualifiers and just learning the philosophy.

“Now I have the first camp, I’m so happy and confident also that we will do a good job.”


Football Federation Australia

Aussies abroad: Matthew Ryan debuts and Brad Smith starts in EPL

Mat Ryan on the training ground with the Caltex Socceroos.

In overnight action, Caltex Socceroo keeper Mat Ryan debuted for his new club in Belgium, while national team defender Brad Smith started in the EPL for Bournemouth.

After making a loan move from Valencia to Racing Genk this week, Ryan was thrown straight into the starting XI for their Belgium Cup clash with KV Oostende.

Unfortunately for the gloveman he wasn’t able to help his new side to a win, beaten 1-0 thanks to Knowledge Musona’s eighth goal of the campaign. In the EPL, left-back Brad Smith got a rare start for AFC Bournemouth but they went down 2-0 at home against relegation-threatened Crystal Palace. There was better news for Aussie striker Scott McDonald, who scored the opening goal for Motherwell in their Scottish Premier League win at Ross County. McDonald got on the end of Lee Lucas’ ball forward before finishing clinically to give his side a 1-0 lead just before the half hour mark.

Motherwell went on to record a crucial 2-1 win to pull away from the foot of the ladder. Bailey Wright was captain again as Bristol City fought out a valuable 2-2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship. Ryan Williams was also in action, playing 76 minutes for Barnsley who missed the chance to jump into the playoff places after a 3-1 loss against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Caltex Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak was missing through injury for Aston Villa and they missed him badly, beaten 3-0 by Brentford.


Football Federation Australia

Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers stars set for 200-game milestone

Wanderers midfielder Mitch Nichols charges onto the ball at Spotless Stadium.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

By Round 17, the Hyundai A-League boasted 16 players to have played 200 or more games. And this round, two more stars are set to join the “200 club”.

Sydney FC defender Alex Wilkinson and Western Sydney Wanderers creator Mitch Nichols are both poised to play their 200th  Hyundai A-League game in Round 18.

However, Sydney FC goalkeeper Danny Vukovic continues to lead at the top of this exclusive club, with his 267 A-League appearances more than any other player in the history of the competition.

Wilkinson is set to become the 17th player to do so when his side travels to Suncorp Stadium to face Brisbane Roar on Friday night.


Wilkinson has proven to be one of the most effective defenders of the season.

He has helped to steer the undefeated Sky Blues backline at the same time putting himself back in contention for a place in the Caltex Socceroos.

He’s one of only six Sydney FC players to have featured in every one of their 17 games so far this campaign, and his passing accuracy of 81.7% is the third best of any Sky Blues player to have made at least 500 passes for the season so far.

Alex Wilkinson  (Sydney FC)

Add to that his flawless tackle technique which has seen him win nine of nine tackle attempts and almost two interceptions per game this season, and it’s easy to see why his quality has seen him poised to join the 200 club.

Nichols is set to face Phoenix in New Zealand a day later in his 200th A-League game after stints with four different clubs.

The Gold Coast-born creator has continued his stellar form for the red and black this season, after a 10-goal season in 2015/16, more than he has scored in any other season in his A-League career.

While he hasn’t found the back of the net as often as he did last year, with just one goal to his name this campaign, he’s remained the creative outlet for Tony Popovic, while his workrate has been superb.

Nichols’ 37 chances created so far this season are the second most of any player behind only Newcastle Jets’ Andrew Hoole who has created 43 chances.

Mitch Nichols

The attacking midfielder has also registered five assists this season, a figure which only five players are currently beating across the entire competition.

In fact, Nichols’ five assists are two more than any other Western Sydney Wanderers player.

Both Wilkinson and Nichols have had celebrated domestic careers and on the cusp of their respective 200th Hyundai A-League game, we congratulate the pair on joining the “200 club”.


Football Federation Australia


TV Record quer comprar imóvel em Botafogo



Em vias de
A Record está em avançadas negociações para a compra de um imóvel em Botafogo, que vindo a ser adquirido funcionará como base do seu jornalismo no centro do Rio.

Local também considerado ideal para tornar possível a construção de um estúdio panorâmico.


Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery