Jamie Young has called on Brisbane Roar’s young squad to step up this season and make their mark on the A-League.
The Roar’s roster has been gutted in the off-season, with nine players departing, including Brad Inman, Scott Neville and Aaron Amadi-Holloway all heading to India.
In response, the Queensland side have made just three signings so far in young players Joey Champness, Jesse Daley and former Wellington Phoenix left-back Josh Brindell-South.
Brisbane will go into the 2020-21 campaign with a youthful squad that is set to rely on the likes of former Joeys Mirza Muratovic, Jordan Courtney-Perkins and Rahmat Akbari, as well as 18-year-old Izaack Powell and 19-year-old Kai Trewin.
Young is the second-oldest player at the Roar, after 37-year-old Scott McDonald, and is entering his seventh season at the club.
The veteran goalkeeper believes Brisbane’s youngsters have to demand game-time with their attitude and their performances on the training field, giving head coach Warren Moon no choice but to play them.
“The biggest thing is can they turn their careers from young professionals to fully-fledged professionals? That’s the challenge for any young professional,” Young told The World Game.
“We saw bits of brilliance from Mirza. Dylan [Wenzel-Halls] showed he can be a handful, but it’s that consistency that sets apart better players like a (Besart) Berisha – he does it every week, week-in-week-out, and that’s what these players have to aspire to.
“I hope they can come out of this youth-pro mentality and say, 'right, it doesn’t matter how old I am, I’m here to compete, I’m here to compete with the very best in this league, and I’m going to put all my energy into that'.
“A guy like Rahmat Akbari could really stake a claim if he gets himself focused and dedicated to the game, then they’d give themselves an opportunity to perform.
“Young players have to get out of this mindset of being given opportunities – they have to be the ones to go and create an opportunity.
“They have to be the ones who perform day-in-day-out and in football no one is going to give opportunities if they aren’t earned. Young players in this country have to have a mindset of driving towards earning that opportunity to play.”
Young played in England for 12 years and believes many young Australian players need to be hungrier and work harder to make it into professional football.
“The difference between Europe and Australia is they don’t have salary caps, and because they don’t have salary caps they can have an unlimited amount of players,” he said.
“Which means, if young players don’t perform, they get chucked out for someone who wants to or will. In Australia there’s probably this notion of too much safety.
“Young players in this country have to be prepared to do the things other people won’t do. And I see it occasionally, but I do see a culture of mediocrity in the coaching curriculums in this country.
“There’s no reason why young Aussies can’t flourish – but they have to be challenged and pushed by coaches. And they have to be able to rise to that occasion. And we’re not seeing enough of that from the coach and the athlete.”
Young feels that if Brisbane can get the right balance of youth and experience, they can be contenders this season.
“Being young’s not bad because they’re athletic,” the keeper admitted.
“But as we saw in the finals, you need to have quality to win games on that any given Sunday. So having quality is important as well as having youth. I think our club knows that and hopefully they’ll go and source the players they can.
“There’s experienced players like Jack Hingert, Scott Mcdonald, Tom Aldred, Jay O’Shea through the spine there. Through the spine it’s important to have experience.
“It’s getting that blend of youth and older qualities, if we can get that balance right we’ll give it our best shot.”