Title winner Graham Arnold warns of the future health of the national side.
Championship-winning coach Graham Arnold there are too many foreign players in the A-League, warning their prevalence is hurting the national team.
Arnold claimed his Central Coast Mariners, who clinched their first domestic championship title a week ago, are the only club in the A-League prioritising local talent over foreign imports.
“I think all other clubs need to follow suit because it’s damaging the national team,” said Arnold ahead of the Mariners’ home AFC Champions League match with Japan’s Kashiwa Reysol on Tuesday.
“If you talk to (national coach) Holger (Osieck) he has trouble picking any players for the national team because there’s too many foreigners in the A-League, in my view.
“You’ve only got nine (Australian) teams in the A-League and one New Zealand team (Phoenix).
“If every team has five foreigners that’s 45 field players that take the pitch every week that are foreign, and only 45 Australians.
“It’s not that many players for national teams to choose from.”
While Arnold lauded marquee signings Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC), Shinji Ono (Western Sydney Wanderers) and Emile Heskey (Newcastle Jets), he said clubs needed to be more selective with the quality of international players they bring in.
But he stopped short of saying there should be a cap on foreign imports playing in the A-League.
“Del Piero and Heskey, they’ve taken the league to another level. Those type of players, they’re welcomed in this country,” he said.