The most recent Socceroo to play in Ligue 1, Mile Sterjovski believes Denis Genreau's promotion to France's top division could be huge for Australian football.

Denis Genreau's Toulouse

  • Socceroo Genreau is currently signed to French side Toulouse.
  • The Ligue 2 side have achieved promotion to Ligue 1 for the 2022-23 season.
  • Genreau's former coach Mile Sterjovski sees this promotion as a chance for the Socceroo to take his football to another level.

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With his proud parents watching on, the Paris-born 22-year-old came off the bench just after the hour mark in Toulouse's 2-0 home win over mid-table Niort on Monday night, that secured promotion and all but locked up the Ligue 2 title.

It means next season Genreau will be the lone Australian mixing it with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain as Toulouse return to the big time after being relegated in the COVID-19 shortened 2019-2020 season.

When Sterjovski played at Lille from 2000 to 2004, he was among a plethora of Socceroos plying their trade in Europe's top five leagues.

But as it stands Mat Ryan (Real Sociedad) and Ajdin Hrustic (Eintracht Frankfurt) are the only Socceroos currently playing in top-flight leagues, with Sterjovski hopeful Genreau's move can help more players take the leap.

"From my experience in Europe, it's huge for Denis but it's a great moment not only for himself but for Australian football, to have somebody playing in one of the best leagues," Sterjovski told the Australian Associated Press.

"Having him doing so well, it can only benefit more players to be seen and the more players we have playing in the top five leagues in Europe regularly is only going to benefit Australian football and our national team.

"It's an important victory for him coming into Ligue 1 and it's hopefully going to open doors for other people."

Genreau has played in 32 of Toulouse's 35 games in 2021-22, starting 19, for one goal and three assists, and also recently earned his first Socceroos start.

It's a path that's delighted Sterjovski, who worked with Genreau as an assistant coach at Macarthur FC before he moved to France.

"Obviously everyone's got a different path but I really agree with the way Denis has done it," Sterjovski said.

"He had a great season and he's the sort of kid that's determined and really worked hard.

"That's probably the best way - if you can prove yourself in Australia and then move to the right club where you're going to have a chance of playing."

Now Sterjovski, who won 43 Socceroos caps, hopes playing in Ligue 1 will take Genreau to another level, like he experienced.

"I had to grow up pretty quick, I had to get used to the pace and it really transformed me into the player I became and it really propelled me forward to be in the national team regularly," he said.

"Playing in France really was the foundation for my career."


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