Bresciano warns of Middle East dangers
Middle East-based Socceroo Mark Bresciano has sounded a warning to young Australian players about the pitfalls of playing club football in the region.
Australia's leading players have been lured to the area in increasing numbers because of the big money on offer in the oil and gas-rich region.
Socceroos stalwarts Bresciano and Lucas Neill have been joined by national teammates Alex Brosque, 24-year-old Matthew Spiranovic and Sasa Ognenovski in recent months.
"This is my opinion, this is not a place for a young player to come," said former Serie A midfielder Bresciano.
"I don't think a young player will improve on their football if they pick up bad habits, professionalism is not up to standard compared to ... the bottom line is I would never ever consider a young player coming here."
Bresciano, 32, headed to the Middle East following the 2010 World Cup because he felt mentally and physically drained after a decade in the Italian top-flight.
Young defender Spiranovic moved to Qatar last month after falling out of favour at his club in Japan.
He admitted the combination of cash and guaranteed game time at Al Arabi proved an attractive combination.
"He never asked for my opinion before he actually signed here, about coming to this type of region," Bresciano said.
"At the end of the day it is his decision, I do not know who advised him to come."
However Bresciano was not so keen on calls for Australian players not to be considered for national duty if they played in the Middle East.
"I don't agree with that," he said.
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has concerns about players choosing the Middle East over more competitive leagues, particularly 29-year-old Brosque's recent switch to Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.
The German wants the former A-League player to play a key role on the road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"I'd rather have him in a more competitive environment but then, of course, the financial aspect - he obviously got such a good offer that he couldn't resist," Osieck said.