“Look, we’ve got a lot of talent,” says Young Socceroos coach Gary van Egmond, as he oversees a plethora of Aussie talent streaming through the football gates.
“There is a great deal of talent coming through,” Van Egmond told the Socceroos. “Between the AFF Championship last year and our last camp, we’ve used a total of 71 players.”
“For us to be able to see this many players and make sure no one is falling through the net is fantastic.”
“Look, we’ve got a lot of talent,” explained Van Egmond.
“The (recent training) camp in Newcastle allowed us to see the best young players from the A-League and NPL.”
“And the Holland camp was extremely beneficial because we saw so many boys that have been overseas for differing amounts of time.”
Next up, Van Egmond's side take part in the group stages of the AFC U/19 Championship, where they'll face Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, however a date is still yet to be set.
The squad Van Egmond has chosen features an entirely NPL and A-League based team bar two.
Midfielder Alberto Del Grosso plays for Lecco in Serie C, while Kai Calderbank-Park is a goalkeeper for Premier League outfit Burnley (but will be the third choice stopper).
Familiar faces in the squad are Louis D'Arrigo, Kristian Popovic and Lachlan Brook, to name a few, however most have had very limited senior A-League experience.
The Young Socceroos haven't qualified for the past three U/20 World Cups, with the next 2021 iteration to be held very close to home in Indonesia.
They narrowly missed out in 2018, making the quarterfinals of the AFC Championships (also hosted in Indonesia) while they exited at the group stage in 2016 and 2014.
But Van Egmond arguably has had a greater preparation now than in the past few tournaments, winning the 2019 AFF U/19 Championship - consisting of teams from our south-east Asian region - with six wins and a draw.
The Young Socceroos hadn't entered the two previous AFF tournaments since 2016.
“To bring them all together and play against very good opposition was fantastic,” explained Van Egmond.
“We now have a very good understanding of exactly where those players sit in the mix.”
“Hopefully, there’s a date soon (for the AFC Championship) but it’s very important the players work hard even if they’re not playing.”