IT’S ALL ABOUT MOOY
It seems strange now to think Aaron Mooy couldn’t make the Socceroo squad for the Asian Cup in 2015, but that is how dramatic his subsequent rise has been. He has become well established as the most important player in the Australian set-up, which made now departed Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou’s decision to start him from the bench in the second leg of the playoff game against Syria hard to fathom. Postecoglou would have had all good intentions about saving Mooy for a critical role later in the game, but an early away goal to Syria that put them up 2-1 on aggregate suddenly made the decision to go without Mooy look way beyond just risky. Then defender Brad Smith got injured and rather than make a like-for-like replacement Postecoglou rushed Mooy on and moved the pieces around to fit him in to his normal position. The Socceroos went on to win the game and advance 3-2 on aggregate, with Mooy being typically influential. It was bad luck for Smith, but as timely a replacement opportunity as you can get and Postecoglou immediately recognised that. Only a silly coach would have ignored it just to try to back his original decision.