Clubless David Carney has been urged by Australia great Stan Lazaridis to return to the A-League to resuscitate his ailing career.
The much-travelled 28-year-old, who has been searching for a new club since his contract was expunged by Uzbek giant Bunyodkor three months ago, has lost his Socceroos spot and is in danger of seeing his future unravel as his hopes of a deal with Iran heavyweight Persepolis FC dim.
Initial expectations of a contract with the Pro League club have diminished since Carney flew to Tehran three weeks ago to meet coach Manuel Jose and club officials, with a deal tipped to be a mere formality.
And now Lazaridis, who lit up Australia’s left flank during a 62-cap 12-year stint with the national team, has advised Carney to forget about hanging out for a contract elsewhere and return to the A-League.
"I would like to see him come back and join an A-League club, get himself playing again and get himself back in the shop window," Lazaridis said.
"Maybe that would get him back on the national team radar also.
"The problem is that the longer he goes without a club, and the more he moves around, it will tend to devalue him.
"People will start to say 'what’s wrong him him? Something must be amiss'.
"They won’t want to touch him, even if there is most probably nothing wrong at all. It’s all down to perceptions.
"We need to see him playing again as we saw in his time at Sydney FC and that would put him in the market for a move into the Asian market, which is a very decent level these days and has already attracted a lot of our better players.
"I wouldn’t have thought Iran would have been a viable place for him anyway. He needs to be playing in a half decent league and he should try and make that happen as fast as he can."
Carney’s slender grip on Australia’s left-back spot was ripped away after his exit from Tashkent with the likes of Michael Zullo, Aziz Behich, Jason Davidson and even midfielder Matt McKay all now ahead of him in the race to fulfil the Socceroos’ problem position.
"David is a decent player down the left and I am sure there would be plenty of takers for him in the A-League," Lazaridis said.
"He’s good on the ball but is not one of those players who makes the headlines. He’s more of a steady-Eddie type.
"He will do a shift for you in the team and do his bit. He won’t take on four or five players and score in the top corner but he has a great shot on him and has shown he can score the odd crucial goal here and there."
Carney’s Sydney-based agent Ante Alilovic has all but given on Iran being the next port of call for the defender whose list of club includes Everton, Oldham, Sydney FC, Sheffield United, FC Twente, Blackpool, Alcorcon and Bunyodkor.
There is the possibility of a gig in Dubai or a possible return to the Championship in England.
"The Iran option is now looking problematic but we haven’t given up on it yet," Alilovic said.
"I have spoken to David about the A-League but he wants to remain overseas for now, so we are exploring all the options we can.
"It obviously gets harder the longer he out of the game but we spoke yesterday and he wants to remain overseas for the time being rather than returning to the A-League."
Mat Ryan kept another clean sheet as Club Brugge moved a point behind leader Standard Liege in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League after a 3-0 home win against KV Mechelen.