Brisbane Roar Head Coach John Aloisi has reflected on the blend of youth and experience in his squad and has predicted there is no reason the club can't have several Socceroos in the not too distant future.
Captain Matt McKay is the club's only current Socceroo although the club provided three players to the recent Olyroos squad – Jamie Maclaren, James Donachie and Brandon Borrello – while Youth players Joe Caletti and Nick D'Agostino have represented Australia at under-17 level.
"We all want to improve players and also improve the game for Australia and if (any of our players) can end up playing for the national team that should be their goal," Aloisi said.
"The way that some of them are going, in the future maybe they will represent the Socceroos."
The spotlight this season has often been on some of the Roar's younger players with Maclaren, Borrello (below) and Dimitri Petratos all gaining monthly nominations for the prestigious NAB Young Footballer of the Year award.
Aloisi says it is vital the younger players use every opportunity, in training and in matches, on the field and off it, to learn about being a professional footballer.
"There are a lot of experienced players (here at the Roar) who have won a lot of things and it is important the younger ones learn off them," Aloisi said.
"What a better environment than to learn off than Thomas (Broich), Miguel (Corona), Matt McKay, Shane Stefanutto. It is good for the younger players to have them around."
Aloisi says the younger players in his squad have the advantage of playing without the high burden of expectation that comes with experience and past success.
"The pressure is more on those older players than the younger one who are still developing as players," he said.
"The older players - when the going gets tough in certain games - they are the ones people rely on.
"But our younger players have been stepping up so they are helping the older players as well."
Central defender Donachie, who had an extended stint of first-team football last season, had to wait patiently on the sidelines before getting his chance from Aloisi in Round 17.
He has now played every minute of the last three games in partnership with the experienced Jade North, who this weekend plays hit 300th first-class domestic game (Hyundai A-League and NSL).
"I'm happy to be back in," said Donachie, whose only other appearance this season was 13 minutes off the bench in Round 7.
"I got given my chance and it's just up to me to keep my spot now.
"Hopefully I can keep on going. If we are winning it helps keep your spot."
Donachie (above) rates this weekend's Round 20 clash away to Perth Glory as a huge challenge for the high-riding Roar.
In addition to the travel, they are facing a Perth side looking for a club record fifth consecutive victory.
"The last couple of games they've been going strong and getting some wins . . . it's definitely not going to be an easy game," Donachie said.
"We'll go there and try and get the win. It's going to be a tough game and hopefully we can come away with the three (points)."