Gombau: 'My U-23s will play like the Socceroos'

Olyroos coach Josep Gombau alongside Caltex Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou and assistant Ante Milicic.
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Coach Josep Gombau says this week’s Australian U-23 training camp is crucial for getting his philosophy across, vowing to replicate the Caltex Socceroos’ playing style with his Olyroos.

In his first chance to work with the U-23 squad since his appointment last year, Gombau has been casting his eye over 26 of the best from the Hyundai A-League on the Central Coast this week. 

He’ll conduct another camp in March in Europe which will only involve overseas-based players.

The qualifiers for next January’s AFC U-23 Asian Cup in China will be held in July, making every camp vital for Gombau to bring his ideas to the squad.

“The most important thing after this camp is the players will know exactly what we want to do,” Gombau told www.footballaustralia.com.au.

“They are all good players and we put them together to get to know each other and to get them to know what I want, put [forward] our philosophy, our system and our style.

“It always is important to qualify [for these tournaments]. We must take this step,” the Spaniard said.

“This competition we are playing in Asia and every single tournament in Asia that is an official tournament we need to be there, especially as one of the best countries in Asia.

“It’s our dream that we can be there and we need to work hard. And do that at every stage, not just U-23 but U-17, 20, we must be there all the time.”

Most of the players in the squad this week are playing regularly in the Hyundai A-League, with many regular starters with their clubs.

The likes of Jonathan Aspropotamitis (Wanderers), Bruce Kamau (City), Ben Garuccio (Reds), Lachlan Jackson, Nick Cowburn both (Jets), Paul Izzo, Trent Buhagiar (both Mariners) and Brandon Wilson (Glory) have started most games for their respective sides.

Wanderers defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis tackles City forward Bruce Kamau when their sides met in Round 14 of the Hyundai A-League.

What’s more, Ruon Tongyik, Devante Clut, Lachlan Scott, Jordan O’Doherty, Jaushua Sotirio and Adam Berry, among others, are also making good progress in the A-League.

The next step for the former Barcelona youth coach is getting the squad ready to play the type of football he wants.

“We have a very clear idea of what we want. As a team we have a playing system and style that is the same as the Socceroos,” Gombau said.

“The way we want to play is to have the ball, to play beautiful football, to play football where we attack and where the people who see us inside the stadium and on TV enjoy and be proud of the work that we are doing.

“For sure [the players] will enjoy and they will follow.  As a player you always want to have the ball, to be the owner of the game and play attacking football.

“When you have the ball normally you don’t feel tired and you want to play. When you don’t have the ball it makes everything more difficult.

“Our desire is to have the ball and play attacking football.”

Asked how much he’s been relishing his role in the Australian national set-up since his appointment in June, Gombau said: “I’m enjoying a lot.

“It’s a totally different role because you work more in the office than on the field.

“The job is to watch games, to watch players and see which players can fit in your system. I’ve enjoyed being in all the camps [with the] Socceroos in their qualifiers and just learning the philosophy.

“Now I have the first camp, I’m so happy and confident also that we will do a good job.”