Thwaite calls for longer season

Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite says the A-League season should be extended to give domestic players the best chance of making the national team.

Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite says the Hyundai A-League season should be extended to give domestic players the best chance of making the Qantas Socceroos squad.

Thwaite, who has been in a training camp for Australian-based players with Holger Osieck-s coaching team for the past week, is one of a number of A-League players hoping to make an impression on the national team boss ahead of a crucial couple of months for the Socceroos.

Qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup is on the line in the upcoming games against Japan, Jordan and Iraq, and after featuring in the side that drew with Oman in March, Thwaite is acutely aware of the pressure on the Socceroos and how much the Socceroos will need to improve if they are to collect the points against strong opposition.

And he believes a longer domestic season means Australian-based players will that much better prepared to step up to international level.

“With any national camps, it-s always at a higher intensity, and it-s good because it shows you the level you need to be at, quick-smart. Everyone enjoyed it; it-s hard on the body but we need to be comfortable to be ready to play at that level.

“I completely understand that at this stage we need to consolidate but whether we play another round or have international windows (during the season) we need to extend the league by a month or two.”

Knowing that expansion is highly unlikely, Thwaite says a longer domestic season will be a good thing for the game.

“I completely understand that at this stage we need to consolidate but [the short season] opens a lot of windows for foreign clubs to start looking at the best players in the league and we should be trying to keep our better players within Australia.

“Long term it will be good for the national team as well. But it-s a difficult time for the league after the failures of the other clubs; 10 teams is spot on at the moment, we just need to extend the league a bit longer.”

As one of the senior members of this week-s training squad in Gosford, Thwaite says Osieck-s team didn-t hold back from putting the players through their paces, even though for some the season had finished weeks ago. But he says that will help define the standards expected by the national team set-up.

“It was very intense, we had double sessions every day, playing games against the u20s in the afternoon, and we finished last night with a game against the Mariners. It was definitely a week that progressed the A-League boys to the right standard.

“There was a lot of muscle soreness going around because Holger got straight into us from the start. Generally in camps he demands a higher level because you need to match that international level in training, and he-s got a close eye on the players on and off the field.

"With the new lads he talked about the importance of the shape he wants to play; he doesn-t like moving sideways he-s always looking for forward passes and positive play, and the guys that came in have done really well.”

Thwaite has also been quoted this week saying World Cup qualification would be a “bumpy road” for the Socceroos, admitting that the tough campaign so far should leave his teammates under no illusions about the task ahead of them.

“During a World Cup campaign, it-s never going to be easy but we-re almost there. We need to respect the three teams we-re going to come against.

“But saying that we need to utilise home advantage and learn from our past experiences. Every point is crucial at this stage.”

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