Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd, who looks surprised in every picture ever taken of him. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Australia national team manager Holger Osieck has cast something of a shadow over Chris Herd's future in the side after making some semi-disparaging comments that would seem to call the 23-year-old midfielder's commitment into question. Herd was left out of the team for Australia's friendly against Lebanon on September 7th and World Cup qualifier against Jordan on September 12th, and Osieck did not mince words in his explanation, quoted from the previously linked Sydney Morning Herald article:
I wanted to give him a chance to look how he does in our group. I wasn't actually convinced. I just wanted to open the door for him. Then he had to decline from invitations three times, so I never really got a chance to see him again. I think at present, I don't really see him in a situation to help our team. Despite the fact he played and even scored with a very easy tap in [ED: on Tuesday against Tranmere Rovers], he was not convincing enough to get a call.
Ouch. If Osieck doesn't think Herd is good enough to get the call then fine, but the little swipe about the "very easy" tap in seems a wee bit unnecessary. The manager also mentions Herd declining his prior invitations to join the team, without mentioning that he did so all three times due to (quite legitimate) injury. I don't follow the Australian national team closely and so I'm certainly on the outside looking in, but it seems to me as though Osieck is not Chris Herd's biggest fan.
Herd has apparently not taken this news well, and one can imagine that Osieck will be none too pleased with being called out pretty publicly by his father. Ultimately, if Herd can continue to improve, he's going to get a call-up and regular place in the team sooner or later. National team coaches don't tend to let things like this prevent them from calling up players that are anywhere but on the margins, and if they do they don't tend to remain national team coaches for very long. But in the shorter-term, it's probably not good for his chances. This could be an interesting little subplot to keep an eye on when the next international break rolls around.