Duva’s XI: Who is Socceroos’ League Two bolter?

Graham Arnold is keeping a close eye on England’s lower leagues, with several players putting themselves on the Socceroos boss’s radar in recent weeks.

Midfielder Jordan Lyden, who featured four times for Premier League club Aston Villa, has played a key role in Swindon Town’s push for promotion from League Two.

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After a career punctuated by injuries, Lyden is enjoying his most consistent campaign as a professional.

Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory faces a huge task to resuscitate its A-League campaign and wunderkind Erling Haaland keeps making scoring look easy in Germany.

Carlos Salvachua has a huge job ahead to rescue Melbourne Victory’s A-League campaign.Source:Getty Images


Melbourne Victory have eight games to save a horror A-League season.

Interim coach Carlos Salvachua has 10 games left of his Victory coaching audition. If Victory’s board had to make a call now, they’d appoint a new boss next season I believe.

Victory is derelict in its duties if it’s not searching for domestic and visa options.

If Spaniard Salvachua has a fairytale finish, he too could be considered.

Salvachua will go down in Victory’s record books via the drought-breaking Asian Champions League win away to Kashima Antlers.

While some fans relished the street smarts applied in the smash-and-grab win, attempts at a more proactive A-League style has yielded two draws and three losses with some wildly inconsistent displays such as the 1-1 draw at Newcastle on Saturday.

Serious questions must be asked of the recruiting, medical and conditioning strategies this season, for repeat injuries such as those suffered by Tim Hoogland and Robbie Kruse are inexcusable at this level.

If Kruse – who never had a hamstring problem before this season – and Hoogland had been available, Victory would be in the six.

Missing finals is intolerable at Victory and a squad overhaul beckons, with more than a dozen players remain out of contract.

Yokohama F Marinos stormed to a 4-0 victory over Sydney FC in the Asian Champions League.Source:AFP


Yokohama F. Marinos’ dismantling of Australia’s best team was unsurprising but enlightening nonetheless.

While we have seen Japanese teams gradually increase their technical and tactical superiority since we joined Asia, this was more of a reminder of Ange Postecoglou’s quality above a J1 League vs A-League reality check.

“More Barcelona than Barcelona,” said one astute ex-Socceroo.

Considering Yokohama was still in off-season (they kicked off the J1 League last night), the intensity, sharpness and collective application of strategy was off the charts in the 4-0 win over Sydney FC on Wednesday night.


Mat Ryan won’t win the keeper of the year award considering the Premier League boasts world class shot-stoppers Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Man City), David De Gea (Man United) and Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City).

His stellar saves late on helped Brighton and Hove Albion nick a crucial point from Europe-bound Sheffield United, with Ryan set to attract rival interest at the end of the season.

Aaron Mooy’s set pieces were also key.

Matildas teammates Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord are set to clash for silverware in England.Source:Getty Images


Less than a fortnight since helping the Matildas pip China to top their Tokyo 2020 qualifying group, Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr butt heads for English silverware.

Foord, who was due to make her debut in the FA Cup clash with Lewes overnight, is a strong chance to start for Arsenal in Saturday’s League Cup final against Kerr’s Chelsea.

The London rivalry is ramping up a notch with the duo competing for the English title along with Manchester City.


Arsenal women’s boss Joe Montemurro should be the next Matildas coach.

Signing Foord is a nice bonus for the Matildas, but his Gunners league and Cup triumphs have been done in style over the past 25 months.

Young Matildas coach Rae Dower, who possesses impeccable W-League records, will be considered.

Considering the sea change towards Europe, Montemurro’s inside knowledge of Europe and England’s Women’s Super League is priceless for the Matildas and W-League, which should also face a strategic rejuvenation in the wake of the Matildas exodus.



Manchester City's Champions League ban could inspire them to the coveted European trophy this season.

Defiant Pep Guardiola addressed the players about the ban, urging them to lay low and work hard.

Siege mentality can be an effective motivational tool for coaches and players, so it sets up for a mouth-watering clash Round of 16 clash with Real Madrid starting Thursday, with defender Aymeric Laporte’s return timely.

It sets up for a curious situation, should Man City hold the trophy aloft on May 31 in Istanbul.

City, whose only European trophy is the old UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970, will appeal the two-year ban.

Bruno Fernandes was a high-profile January arrival for Manchester United.Source:Getty Images


Manchester United must build their team around Bruno Fernandes and signal the new era by selling disgruntled Paul Pogba.

United would be sitting higher had it signed the Portuguese last August, but the $133 million man has starred in his first few games.

Last week’s assist for Harry Maguire is the kind of set piece delivery lacking at Old Trafford this season, ditto his midfield creativity and urgency.


Great to see Perth-born Jordan Lyden playing key role for League Two table toppers Swindon Town in a defining season for his luckless career.

Lyden, 24, was on track for big things when he debuted played four Premier League games for Aston Villa in 2015-16 before horror injuries set in.

The aggressive midfielder played 30 minutes in the win over Grimsby Town on Sunday after a crucial goal 10 days ago.

His 24 games this season is easily his best return.

Fourth-tier compatriot Cameron Burgess is headed for Wembley, after Salford City beating Newport County on penalties to secure an EFL Trophy final berth against Ryan Williams’ Portsmouth on April 5.

Jordan Lyden is enjoying a strong campaign for League Two promotion-chasing Swindon Town.Source:Getty Images

Salford, who are part owned by Man United's class of 92 stars David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville, couldn’t back up the midweek heroics, losing 2-1 to Colchester United in a dagger blow to its promotion hopes.

Meanwhile Sunderland’s Bailey Wright has been ruled out for the rest of the season after injuring his ankle last week. Wright had triggered an extraordinary Black Cats run which continued on Sunday without him – the 3-0 win over Bristol Rovers lifting them to within three points of automatic promotion.

Former Perth Glory midfielder Ryan Edwards netted his seventh goal of the season as Burton Albion push for an unlikely playoff spot, after a 3-2 win at Mark Milligan’s Southend United.


Melbourne City are on track to become the best team in W-League history – a just reward for the club’s investment.

Ellie Carpenter, whose brace wrapped up the Premier’s Plate in a 4-0 thrashing of Western Sydney, and her Matildas teammates Steph Catley, Lydia Williams, Kyah Simon, Emily van Egmond and Aivi Luik have starred.

City sits alongside Sydney FC, who got a seven-year head start on City, with three titles apiece.

Erling Haaland is the hottest striker in Europe and on a stunning scoring run wit Borrusia Dortmund.Source:AFP


He is not at Kylian Mbappe’s level yet, though he did upstage him with last week’s Champions League brace.

Erling Haaland is however on track to becoming one of the great strikers in world football, with his stunning start to Borussia Dortmund life continuing.

Haaland, 19, broke a Bundesliga record, netting a ninth goal in six games in a 2-0 win at Werder Bremen.


Aussie Peter Cklamovski made his attacking intentions clear, but had a baptism of fire in his coaching debut with J1 side Shimizu S-Pulse.

The 3-1 loss was offset by the fact it came against J1 powerhouse FC Tokyo, and calamitous defending played a part.

Cklamovski is in his first senior gig after a long Ange Postecoglou apprenticeship, at Victory, Socceroos and Marinos.

Originally published asDuva’s XI: Who is Socceroos’ League Two bolter?

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