Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold says Mitchell Duke isn't ready to take the plunge and move overseas, despite training with West Ham United this month.
Duke announced himself as a force to be reckoned with at the East Asian Cup in July, making his Socceroos debut, playing in all three games and scoring his first two goals for the senior national team.
That earned him the opportunity to train with Sam Allardyce's Hammers ahead of the new English Premier League season, but his club coach believes any dreams of following the likes of Mat Ryan and Tom Rogic to Europe should be put on hold for now.
"I don't think Mitchell's ready to go anyway yet," Arnold told Goal Australia.
"He's a late developer. He's 22 years of age, but in a lot of ways I look at him as an 18-year-old footballer because he missed all the talent identification programs. He's still developing. He needs to be patient, he needs at least one to maybe two years here in the A-League."
For all Duke's heroics in the Socceroos' otherwise underwhelming showing in South Korea, Arnold offered a reminder that earning a berth in the Mariners' starting XI remains the young striker's priority.
"He had a great tournament in Asia," Arnold said.
"He knows he's put himself on the radar with Holger Osieck. But he's also got a battle on his hands here to get in the starting line-up because we've got some good depth up front.
"Bringing Matty Simon back, Danny McBreen, Mile Sterjovski - Dukey's going to be fighting for a position up front with those guys. You add in the names of Nick Fitzgerald, Michael McGlinchey and Marcos Flores, we've got some good options up front.
"It's good to have competition for places. Dukey knows he's got that and he has to perform."