Australia manager Holger Osieck has told kicker that the lack of fresh talent in the country is partially down to the A-League's current structure.
The Socceroos were one of the first teams to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil this week after they beat Iraq 1-0 in a hard-fought match through a late Josh Kennedy goal. The spine of the side is still formed by veterans like 40-year-old goalkeeper Marc Schwarzer, defender and captain Lucas Neill (35) and attacking-midfield duo Tim Cahil and Marc Bresciano (both 33).
"Gradually, younger players slip through," the German coach told the print edition of kicker. "[Tom] Rogic from Celtic is 20, [James] Holland from Austria Vienna is 24, [Tommy] Oar from Utrecht is 21." But all of those players as well as new Bayer Leverkusen man Robbie Kruse (24) or Borussia Dortmund back-up keeper Mitch Langerak (24) have chosen to further their career away from the domestic A-League.
"The problem is that the season is just too short," Osieck explained. "It only goes for a maximum of six months. The break is far too long."
The 64-year-old, who was Franz Beckenbauer's assistant coach during Gemany's 1990 World Cup-winning campaign, however said he had no worries that his team will be too old for next year's tournament in Brazil.
"I see how the lads move - the sporting prowess is good," he said. "I am convinced the older guys can keep their level until the World Cup."
Osieck, who was named the Socceroos' boss in 2010 after two years working for FIFA's technical commission, added that the Australia job was the perfect opportunity to get back into the dugout.
"I always had the drive to return to coaching," he said. "It just so happened with Australia then. That's the advantage of working for the FIFA commission - you are always somehow a part of it all.
"My wife and I enjoy living here very much. It is a wonderful country and I take great delight in the work. The team is great and my weird humour goes down well."
Earlier in June, Osieck had to apologise for a sexist remark he made to the press following his side's 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Jordan.