One of the first matches I saw in Japan was an All Stars game and I’ve been fascinated by the concept ever since. So here’s my selection to face Manchester United.
One of the first football matches I ever saw on Japanese TV was an All Stars game in the mid-90s. I-ve been fascinated by the All Stars concept ever since and I even attended the last All Star fixture to feature J-East and J-West sides at Ecopa Stadium in 2007.
With the All Star concept enjoying such a long history in Japan, it would be remiss of me to overlook the A-League-s very own Japanese stars.
Of course, Western Sydney playmaker Shinji Ono picks himself but I think there-s enough spark and talent for on-loan Perth Glory attacker Ryo Nagai to earn a place on my bench.
The fact that several Socceroos players are likely to be on international duty at the East Asian Championships means I-ve overlooked some quality players, including Eugene Galekovic, Mark Milligan and Archie Thompson for a place in my All Star team.
But I believe there-s enough experience and firepower in my side to give Manchester United a run for their money.
I-ve gone for Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic in goal. Galekovic and his Central Coast counterpart Mat Ryan might be on international duty but in Covic, my All Stars team can rely on one of the A-League-s safest pair of hands.
In defence, I-ve opted for the Wanderers- outstanding German import Jerome Polenz, Central Coast veteran Patrick Zwaanswijk, Wanderers hard man Nikolai Topor-Stanley – though he arguably deserves to be picked for the Socceroos instead – and the ever-combative Cassio at left back.
My midfield is comprised of one of the Central Coast-s big improvers in Michael McGlinchey, the mercurial Ono and Victory youngster Marco Rojas.
That leaves an attacking trio of Jeremy Brockie, Alessandro Del Piero and Youssouf Hersi up front – not that you-d expect Del Piero to chase too many crosses from either flank!
That might be a role more suited to Newcastle striker Emile Heskey, and I-ve picked him on the bench alongside some other fairly useful talent.
In full, my All Stars team in an attacking 4-3-3 formation is as follows.
Goalkeeper: Ante Covic (Western Sydney Wanderers).
Defenders: Jerome Polenz (Western Sydney Wanderers), Patrick Zwaanswijk (Central Coast Mariners), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Western Sydney Wanderers), Cassio (Adelaide United).
Midfielders: Michael McGlinchey (Central Coast Mariners), Shinji Ono (Western Sydney Wanderers), Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory).
Forwards: Jeremy Brockie (Wellington Phoenix), Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC), Youssouf Hersi (Western Sydney Wanderers).
Reserves: Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar), Ryo Nagai (Perth Glory), Emile Heskey (Newcastle Jets).
Here-s hoping All Stars coach Ange Postecoglou agrees with some of my selections!