European football is the ultimate destination for any footballer. The resources, infrastructure and opportunities are second to none, and a mouth watering prospect for any professional who wants a crack at the best leagues in the world.
So why is it difficult to replicate this kind of environment in other parts of the world? Why can't countries aim to develop their own systems and implement European style programs domestically instead of exporting their players to the bright lights of the UEFA's top competitions?
More specifically, why does Australian football seem to grow but remain stagnant at the same time?
The short answer is that it goes beyond tactical and borders on the cultural.
Australian striker Anthony Carter weighed in on the discussion. Anthony has played in Italy, Romania, Portugal and now Thailand, and has seen what development looks like in European circles.
"From my own experiences, it's not hard to see that Portugal's rate of producing young players is so much higher than that of Australia," Carter explained to TribalFootball.com. "It's bred into them from a young age, a high level of football and tactical awareness. At Benfica there are kids as young as 10 or 11 years old they have tremendous amounts of talent.
"The coaches are very experienced and know exactly what they're doing, they're more than qualified and capable of leading first teams as well as blooding through the next generation.
"While I was in Portugal, practically every day we had a new young kid training with us for them to experience first team football, and for us to be challenged by a new face. There's always new talent being put into the senior squads and it's part of what makes their development so strong."
While the A-League has grown in leaps and bounds and is relatively successful, it has stagnated in the last few years and yields fewer players being exported to Europe. This kind of complacency will hurt Australia long term as a footballing nation and needs to be addressed quickly.
Carter suggests that Australian football could benefit with some insight into European development systems and implementing them for long term results.
"Australia needs a good blueprint like Ajax or Benfica, or any of these countries that focus on producing good young talent," said Carter. "It's fantastic that domestic players are getting called up to the national team, but long term we want to be competing in the round of 16 or quarter finals at the World Cup. Australia needs a good look into Europe and their recipe for future generations to be successful.
"We as Australians have good genetics, we're athletic, strong, tall, all the good things that you want in athletes. Going to Europe should be the priority even at a young age, the sooner we start training among the elite of the world league the better off our future generations will be."
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