While some of the Socceroos' golden generation are leading a charge for reform at every rebel of the game, the current generation has kept relatively quiet on the subject. Until now.
Living proof that the A-League can produce world-class talent, Socceroo goalkeeper Maty Ryan is the latest player to weigh in on the game’s current state of play, drawing on his experience both in Australia and Europe to deliver his insight.
Ryan believes a lack of quality games between the ages of 17-23 as a result of poor infrastructure is hindering youth development.
“It’s always hard to nail what it is,” Ryan told FTBL. “But the infrastructure and the financial support around football here in Australia is certainly inferior to the European countries I’ve played in.
"In Europe, the amount of academies, coaches and funding that goes into clubs from a young age and onwards gives these players the number and quality of games that ultimately develops them into world class footballers.”
Ryan believes young Australian footballers are not being afforded the same opportunities as European prospects: “I just feel in Australia during the important age from 17-22, the NYL age limits and current A-League setup are denying young players the opportunity to play games at a high level.
“If you’re a young player at an A-League club and you’re on the bench, you’re missing out on the chance to play first team football in the NPL or even in a NYL team because of the 23-year-old age cut off.
"It’s a vital period of someone’s career and if you’re missing the boat at that point in time, it’s really hard to play catch up from there.”
While others may have missed the boat, Ryan is steering the ship for the current generation, alongside Brighton teammate Aaron Mooy. The Seagulls duo are the only two Australians playing in the Premier League at present, paling in comparison to the nine Socceroos who represented top tier English outfits in 2006.
Though Ryan believes there is no set formula to individual success, he is certain about the importance of consistent playing minutes for youth prospects.
“From my experiences in the game there’s never been a right or wrong way to go about things, each and every individual’s journey is different,” the former Central Coast Mariner added.
“But whether you want to be here in the A-League or playing overseas, you need to be playing a high number of games and it’s from those experiences and adversity in game-like situations where you grow as a footballer.
"I think that’s paramount to the fulfilment of a player’s potential. Play and play games but keep raising your standards and see how far you can get. That’s the approach I took and it worked for me.”
One incentive that could increase the amount of competitive fixtures in Australia is the establishment of a National Second Division. In theory, a higher volume of young Australian players pursuing a professional contract should equate to a greater talent pool.
Ryan, though sceptical of the existing infrastructure's potential to sustain a second tier of Australian football, believes it would be a great move.
“A second division would be ideal if the financial support and quality of the league was sufficient enough to be sustained," he said "But I don’t know if we have the financial support for that at the moment.
"In the A-League, there’s already quite a big gap between some of the top teams and lower teams, so if there’s enough depth in both leagues to co-exist then I think a second division would be great.”
“It’s hard for me to say because I’m just here focusing on my own career in Europe and I’m not in amongst all the details of it.
"But anything that helps grow the game in Australia, I’m in full support of.”
Ryan’s Brighton & Hove Albion sit just two points above the relegation zone, with the Premier League season set to resume on June 17.