Sheffield United: Former midfielder makes a statement about Australia

Nick Montgomery believes the A League All-Stars’ performance against Barcelona, a showpiece event designed to mark the end of the Australian season, was a reflection of standards within its top-flight competition.

Sunday, 26th June 2022, 11:59 am

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The former Sheffield United favourite, now in charge of Central Coast Mariners, watched three members of his squad face the Catalan giants at Sydney’s Accor Stadium last month.

Despite Xavi’s decision to select names including Ousmane Dembele, Sergio Busquets and Dani Alves, the hosts took a 2-1 lead early in the second period before eventually losing 3-2.

With one of his players, Kye Rowles, completing a move to Scotland following the fixture, Montgomery told The Star that the skills being displayed by footballers Down Under can easily translate onto a European stage.

“I’ve played games in Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand,” he said. “Football is football. It doesn’t matter where it is happening in the world, the same things still apply.”

“The lads did brilliantly,” Montgomery added. “So that just goes to show you, doesn’t it.”

FC Barcelona Head Coach Xavi Hernandez took his team to Australia to face the All-Stars: David Ramos/Getty Images

Montgomery, now aged 40, made nearly 400 appearances for United after progressing through their youth system. He left to join the Mariners in 2012, initially as a player before joining their backroom staff. Montgomery eventually took sole charge 11 months ago, guiding the Mariners to a fifth placed finish. Rowles’ colleagues Jason Cummings and Garang Kuol, whose career Montgomery has nurtured, were also selected in a squad containing ex-United midfielders Jack Rodwell and Jay O’Shea. Rodwell, now of Western Sydney Wanderers, captained the Australians who were coached by Dwight Yorke.

Former Sheffield United midfielder Nick Montgomery watched the game, and is now in charge of Central Coast Mariners
Kye Rowles arrives at Sydney International Airport after helping Australia qualify for the World Cup: Matt King/Getty Images