'Almost suicidal' - Schwarzer's concern over the lure of Asia for Australians

Comments()
The former Socceroo is worried Asia is hampering the development of Aussie players

Mark Schwarzer believes Australians moving to Asia too soon in their careers risk destroying their potential development and the chance of ever making it in Europe.

A number of Aussies have made moves to Asia in recent years and ultimately struggled with Matthew Spiranovic shunned by former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou after going to China in 2015. 

While Schwarzer understands the financial incentive of playing in Asia, the former Fulham keeper described Robbie Kruse's decision to move to Chinese side Liaoning Whowin in 2017 as 'almost suicidal'.  

"It’s hard if you’re a player and you get offered a contract worth five times, ten times more than what you’re earning here domestically, it’s very hard for them to turn down," Schwarzer said on Optus Sport’s GegenPod.

"I think the fact it’s opened up and Asia is a viable opportunity for a lot of these guys - it’s a financial fix, not a development for most of them in terms of career path and for me that is definitely hampering the development of players.

"It’s great for a certain level of player where they probably aren’t at a level to make a good career out of themselves in Europe so Asia is a viable option. 

"I get concerned for players, like for example, Robbie Kruse, who left Germany and went to China at the age of 26-27. For me, that was just crazy and I understand why he did from a financial gain but I thought from a career perspective, a development perspective it was almost suicidal. Now he finds himself back in Germany and playing some of his best football again.

"So that has always been a worry for me, that lure of Asia, taking the option of financial reward…and then they don’t have the opportunity to go back to Europe. 

"I’m glad I didn’t have the lure of Asia as it would’ve been hard to turn down."

Former Central Coast Mariners coach Paul Okon echoed Schwarzer's sentiments suggesting the new generation of Australian footballers lack the patience to make the right career move. 

"Young players these days know what they want and they want to get it very quickly," Okon said on Optus Sport’s GegenPod

"They’re not really thinking about the steps you need to develop. 

Article continues below

"It is a concern and we have seen players make the wrong choices and have to come back to the A-League for regular football."

Adam Taggart is the latest Australian to move to Asia after signing for K-League side Suwon Bluewings and has hit the ground running scoring three goals across five appearances.

It hasn't been such smooth sailing for two-time Socceroo Bernie Ibini however, who hasn't played a single minute since sealing a surprise move to ​Jeonbuk Motors. 

Close