• Jack George

Five underrated A-League midfielders who deserve a Socceroos cap

The A-League has been swarming with talent since the restart with many players continuing their form after a long break in the season.

I decided to take a look at five A-League midfielders who I believe deserve to be called up to the Socceroo’s in the coming years in no particular order.

Max Burgess

The twenty-five-year-old attacking midfielder made his A-League debut in the 2014/15 season but between then and 2018 only played six games, albeit moving away from Australia for a few seasons in between.

Burgess was given his chance by Mark Rudan last season at Wellington Phoenix and impressed in his 687 minutes on the field.

But this season in Western United he has really come into his own.

Playing as an advanced midfielder alongside Diamanti frequently this season, Burgess has shown his usual flair on the ball but has also improved his positional awareness and crucially his finishing ability.

With five goals in his last three games he has shown his quality, and should he continue to play consistently he could be well on his way to earning his maiden Socceroos cap.

Anthony Caceres

Anthony Caceres can be considered another late bloomer but has shown his full potential under Steve Corica for Sydney FC.

Like Burgess, Caceres showed glimpses of quality at his past A-league clubs but really lacked the goals to show for it.

And while he still hasn’t shown the ability to find the back of the net consistently, he has shown a certain ‘European’ quality on the ball that many Australian midfielders lack.

He has a brilliant knack to keep the ball no matter how tight of a position he is in and could therefore be useful for the Socceroos should they be looking to just retain possession.

He also is extremely versatile having featured pretty much everywhere in midfield for the sky blues, therefore being a solid player to have on the bench.

Steven Ugarkovic

Ugarkovic has cemented himself as a brilliant all-round midfielder under Carl Robinson. He has shone screening the defensive line but also as a box to box midfielder having scored four goals this season in the A-League.

He has created twenty-five chances and has an 88% pass accuracy, showcasing his ability to keep the ball with composure while playing effective penetrating passes.

At just twenty-five years old he still has majority of his career ahead of him, and if he can continue his steady improvement from the past few seasons it’s likely that we will see Ugarkovic in the Socceroos’ green and gold soon.

Riley McGree

I was extremely surprised to find out that Riley McGree hasn’t been given a cap by the Socceroos. At just twenty-one years old he has established himself as one of the league’s best midfielders.

Dominating as the attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, McGree has shone, scoring ten goals in twenty games for just 173 minutes per goal. His surging late runs have become a trademark McGree move, while he has shown the crowd to expect the unexpected; who could forget that scorpion kick!

McGree has also created forty-one chances for his side showcasing his playmaking ability.

It is highly likely that he will be given his opportunity on the international stage in the near future.

Cameron Devlin

Cameron Devlin has had a true breakout season under Ufuk Talay. Ever since replacing Alex Rufer in the starting eleven against Melbourne Victory on the 14th of December he has excelled in the heart of the midfield.

Devlin has been everywhere for his side, making thirty-eight tackles and forty-three interceptions in his thirteen starts for Wellington.

He has also created ten chances and succeeded fifteen dribbles while boasting a pass accuracy of ninety percent.

Whenever Devlin gets on the ball it seems he has the ability to slow down or speed up the game at will, and never looks to be a danger of losing the ball no matter how much he is being pressured.

While he will need to show his quality over a longer span of games, he is well on his way to becoming capped for the Socceroos.

The A-League has been home to some brilliant midfielders this season with multiple having brilliant breakout seasons.

These five have impressed me the most, but they all need to show their quality over multiple seasons if they want to make the Socceroos team.

However, these five A-League midfielders shouldn’t be far away from a Socceroo’s cap.