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Fixing the Spike – Mark Milligan Saga

The Mark Milligan saga of the last few days has certainly cast a pall of bad temper over the Olyroos’ preparations for Beijing. Although Milligan is no stranger to no-show controversies (as any Sydney FC fan could confirm), securing his club future should indeed be his first priority at the moment, and if the FFA were in fact told about his intended whereabouts this week, they don’t come out of things particularly well.

Once again, the Olympic football tournament is not of paramount importance, and a training camp in Townsville four months out from the tournament should not take precedence over fixing a place of employment for the forthcoming season.

The argument advanced by his new agent in the piece linked above:

It’s believed that Brookes yesterday made the case that his player’s priority had to be finding a club in recent weeks as he was without a deal and hence had no income…

…seems fair enough to me.

Milligan remains an enigma. His form can be infuriatingly unpredictable: he can put together an immaculate series of displays at the back, combining calm elegance on the ball with excellent reading of the game and intelligent, crisp passing, and then produce an absolutely shocking performance, such as that we witnessed against Perth Glory in December.

After Milligan’s fine run of form in the first season of the A-League, I jokingly suggested to my Well-Informed Covite friend that at least we’d have him for a few more months before he went to Europe. Two months and several Milligan howlers later, a text message from W.I.C. assured me that we’d have him for a few more months before he went to Blacktown.

Even his brief spell with the Socceroos at the Asian Cup was marked by such Jekyll-and-Hyde form: after a magnificent display against Thailand, he gifted the Japanese their only goal of that miserable quarter-final with a trivial error.

It probably is time for Milligan to take the European plunge. Like a few other young A-Leaguers, he appears in danger of stagnating if he stays any longer. Arsenal is surely a pipedream, but a good, patient Euro manager, a tougher league, and a longer season could all help him to realise the potential that he so clearly possesses.

Written by Mike Salter

Read more of his thoughts at The Football Tragic

Written by
Real Football

Published on May 10, 2008

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