Former Socceroos midfielder Brett Holman has declared the migration of Australia internationals to the A-League over the past two years as a “massive compliment” to the competition.
Holman has joined Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), plus Rhys Williams (Perth Glory), James Holland (Adelaide United) and James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), as just some of the Socceroos to return home for the 2016-17 season.
For Holman, who has spent the past three years playing in United Arab Emirates, seeing the likes of his Roar team-mate Tommy Oar choose to play in Australia underlines the strides the A-League has made over 11 years.
“You’re talking about good quality players, national team players, who aren’t choosing something else but looking at the A-League and saying ‘this is positive for my career’,” Holman told reporters on Wednesday.
“That is a massive compliment for the A-League to say this is how we’re progressing.”
Holman fronted journalists alongside Cahill and Sydney FC marquee Bobo in Melbourne as part of an A-League media day less than two weeks out from the new campaign.
Cahill said he had enjoyed mixing with Holman and Williams, while he had also had the chance to catch up with former team-mates, who are now sitting on benches around the A-League.
“Players that I played with are now coaches. You know, ‘Popa’ [Tony Popovic], ‘Musky’ [Kevin Muscat], John Aloisi – seeing them all, it brings back great memories,” the Socceroos striker said.
“You can see, even as coaches, they still look in good physical shape.
“I was expecting a few of them to have more weight on them but I was impressed.”
Cahill added: “This is where we’re from. This is where we were brought up and to be finally home as international Australian players, it’s good for us, good for our families and obviously great for the game.”
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