Former Olyroo captain Oliver Bozanic has defended the Under-23 national program after it faced heavy criticism last month before the Cambodian qualifiers.
Bozanic played 13 times for the Olyroos between 2010 and 2012 was part of the unsuccessful campaign to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
In March the current Olyroo team came under strong criticism from pundits, fans and several A-League coaches because of the amount of young players that were selected and unavailable for several A-League matches.
The Olyroos went on to book its place at the AFC U23 Championships in Thailand in January after securing a 2-2 draw with South Korea in its final match.
Some people have questioned the point of the Olyroo set-up for young players, but Bozanic believes it has great value.
"Absolutely, it's great for your development because you really have to test yourself against the best around the world," the midfielder told FTBL.
"You get that opportunity, and it also gives these players a lot of confidence to go back to their clubs and perform at a higher level. It gives them a bit more inspiration to reach a higher level and to possibly go overseas and to play at a higher level.
"We were unfortunate when we were going through the qualifcation campaign – I don't think we got any of the European players and we were limited to three per team.
"I don't know if it's still the same rule, but it does make it extremely difficult if you don't have the players that you want and the time to put the team together.
"Definitely for myself it was extremely important to be a part of that and try to test myself against the best players around the world."
Australia has not qualified for an Olympics since Beijing in 2008.
Bozanic said calls to scrap the Olyroos as a national team are wide of the mark.
"I wouldn't say that's the right idea," the 30-year-old Socceroo maintained.
"You get a lot of experience, you learn a lot, you can build a lot of confidence from playing in these games and learning."