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Melbourne Heart's Olsen: A-League is a stepping stone

Melbourne Heart assistant coach Jesper Olsen believes the A-League is a great stepping stone for talented youngsters to make the plunge abroad.

The former Manchester United winger and Denmark international says the A-League plays a similar role to the Danish domestic competition in that it provides young players with the base they need to take the step towards a career in a bigger league.

"The A-League is a bit like the SAS League in Denmark," he said. "We are a country that develops talent, and an important role of the SAS League is to create players for other levels.

"Some players will stay in Denmark and become great domestic stars while others will move to countries like England, Holland, Germany, Italy, France and Spain to compete with and against some of the best players in the world.

"In Australia, we now have a league which gives the opportunity to young player to not only play in the A-League but also be spotted by those other countries.

"That will evolve the A-League into a place where if you are good enough, you will leave the A-league and give space to other young players coming through, which is essential to growing Australian football at all levels."

Olsen went onto touch on some of the players who will become the Australian national team's next batch of stars and heaped more praise on the A-League for helping Australian football to grow.

"Players like Tommy (Oar) will form the core of the next generation of Socceroos," predicts Olsen."There are also players such as James Holland, Dario Vidosic and Matthew Spiranovic who have already gone abroad and have a big role to play.

"The A-League has become more of a showcase for other countries as the whole package is delivered at a much higher level.

"The teams are playing in the Asian Champions League so there is an entire package which is looked at completely differently to the old NSL.

"What has happened over the last five years has elevated Australian football to a different level in terms of competitiveness as well as product as a world game."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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