Mark Schwarzer, Brett Holman & the top five Australians in Europe for the 2011-12 season

Following the conclusion of the 2011-12 European league season, has put together a list of the best performing Australians on the old continent
By Ben Somerford | Asian Football Editor

With no World Cups on the immediate horizon, nor the disruption of an Asian Cup, the Australian legion playing in Europe were mainly able to focus on club duties during the 2011-12 season.

While the likes of Harry Kewell, Brett Emerton, Mark Bresciano and Lucas Neill have recently finished their European careers and Tim Cahill had a down year at Everton, the latest term showed there's a new wave of talented Aussies abroad ready to keep waving the flag on foreign shores.

Indeed, from the Netherlands through to Turkey and back to the usual home of Aussies in Europe, England, there were plenty of star performers. Brett Holman had a huge role in AZ's thrilling domestic and continental campaigns, while Adam Federici and Rhys Williams both were vital cogs in their sides' pushes for promotion to England's Premier League.

In light of this, has put together its top five Australians players in Europe for the 2011-12 season:

5. JAMES TROISI | Kayserispor, Left Winger, 23
Appearances 28
Goals 11
Assists 5
Season highlight Winner vs Besiktas
Future Looks set to leave Turkey
Socceroos caps to date 8

The Adelaide-born left winger/attacking midfielder emerged as Kayserispor's main offensive threat throughout the 2011-12 season, ending as their topscorer as they avoided the drop with an 11th-place finish. Troisi may have had a pay dispute with his club during the season, but found form after the turn of the year, netting three goals in three consecutive games including a first-minute winner against Turkish giants Besiktas in January.

4. MARK SCHWARZER | Fulham, Goalkeeper, 39
Appearances 44
Clean Sheets 17
Yellow Cards 1
Season highlight Saves in draw vs Man City
Season lowlight Late error vs Aston Villa
Date of birth October 6, 1972

The evergreen goalkeeper endured a long campaign with the Cottagers as they came through the early qualifying rounds of the Europa League. Schwarzer continued his consistent and solid form in goal, although a spinal injury sustained in December was a setback as he missed almost two months. Schwarzer, made a few errors this term, prompting some to question him due to his age, but he continues to be an assured shot-stopper and a fine influence on a side who managed a top-10 Premier League finish.

3. RHYS WILLIAMS | Middlesbrough, Defender, 23
Appearances 39
Goals 2
Assists 4
Season highlight Being mostly injury-free
Interested clubs Newcastle, Liverpool, WBA
Reported Bolton bid £6 million

The promising Perth-born utility man was one of the driving forces behind Middlesbrough's push for promotion during the 2011-12 campaign, where they ultimately fell short ending the term in seventh. Williams was a key influence in the centre of defence, while he was equally at home in midfield. The composed young defender, who missed much of the 2010-11 season, won a lot of admirers during the campaign with reported interest from a variety of top-flight clubs and a move beckons, although he remains loyal to Boro.

2. ADAM FEDERICI | Reading, Goalkeeper, 27
Appearances 46
Clean Sheets 20
Yellow Cards 0
Season highlight February player of the month
Future Socceroos number one?
Socceroos caps to date 6

Federici is one of Australia's underrated talents plying their trade abroad, but his vital contribution to the Royals' Championship success certainly has boosted his profile. Mark Schwarzer's deputy kept a stunning 20 clean sheets in the 2011-12 season, including five straight during February when Reading begun their storm to promotion as Federici won the Championship Player of the Month award. A fine shot-stopper, an assured cross-taker, vocal influence and leader, Federici has proven his top-flight quality.

1. BRETT HOLMAN | AZ, Attacking Midfielder, 27
Appearances 42
Goals 7
Assists 15
Season highlight Europa League goal v Valencia
Future Has signed with Aston Villa
Intl goals since May 2010 7

Holman continued his recent emergence into a top-line player, as he was a key component of AZ's charge to the Eredivisie lead at the winter break with his creative influence down the left flank. The Australian's combination play with full-back Simon Poulsen was a regular feature for AZ, as well as his confidence to take on defenders and try his luck on goal. Holman ended the season with 15 assists in all competitions, while his stunning volley in AZ's Europa League quarter-final against Valencia will long be remembered. Holman has signed with Aston Villa after a decade in Netherlands as he chases a new challenge.

Do you agree with's Top Five Australians in Europe for this season? If not, who do you think should be on the list?

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